Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Should I take this Friday Off??

Now I am not the most exiting chap on this planet. Not by a long chalk. Throughout my working life as an accountant I have pondered on this little conundrum many many times.

Although not as boring as many might assume, come Wednesday night in the world of accounting, it is very tempting to take some annual leave and either have a lazy day at home mowing the lawn, watching telly or something more exiting (Like reading about tax -just joking!).

So that is the question; On Wednesday evening I am debating, should I take this Friday off?.

Would I be missed? Do I have any crucially important appointments, will anything spoil while I am gone?

If you are running your own business like we do. What goes through my mind when I contemplate doing that runner for just one day at short notice? OK maybe ‘leave’ isn’t an issue, I don’t really have anyone to answer to either so, what’s stopping me?

Maybe I feel responsible.

You see the buck, in one way or another, stops here and it is a dead stop - BANG!

Leaving things undone can give me a reputation, cost money or even lose key customers. Who will look after the fold while I am gone, who will deal with that inevitable crisis that lurks around the corner waiting for me to leave? Now that is a conundrum.

So I think only the courageous and the bold take Fridays off.

Would you just be brave or wreckless and decide, that you are literally going to do that runner?

If you think about it, really, the goal of any entrepreneur is to be in a situation where they are just not needed for the business to run. They have staff, capable of dealing with the day to day operations and the odd crises that arise, but sensible enough to stop when they cross onto that holy ground that needs our attention and ours alone. Therein lies the brave courageous soul who in fact can take Friday off.

It is not easy to delegate. Would you give your precious assets to the right employee to look after? Trust them to make decisions that could profoundly affect their value? Accept that they might not make the same decisions that you would, and then back those decisions to the hilt, with your own money?


That is a tall order, and a psychological barrier that many an entrepreneur has to cross to allow business to grow beyond merely what we are capable of handling themselves.

That is the key, in most cases, to breaking the barrier between owning your own job (however good that might be) and owning a business that has a life of its own, an asset in its own right. Something that you can sell for real money.

So how do you do it? There are loads of books out there, some written by academics and some by those who have and been fantastically successful (otherwise why would you read their book?).

In the end it boils down to style, common sense, resources and the people available, books cannot light your pathway just give little tips along the way.

Here are some tips that come to mind as I write this.

It is vital to use the experienced resources available to you- especially those older than me! Get advice from trusted friends (who’s opinion counts) and people who have done it before. Most people are delighted to share their experiences, it is after all a very lonely world.

Try not to rely on ‘good people’. Those assets can quickly walk out of the door and demand more and more. If possible it is better to rely on good systems that good people work within. The balance to that is of course to make sure that we reward the talent that you have so that it does not walk.

Learn about the art of delegation. Delegation is not just passing a task on, closing our eyes, clenching your buttocks and hoping it will be OK. In the book “The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey” by Ken Blanchard and others... the ‘one minute manager’ does not just pass on his monkeys (tasks) but insures them. Make sure that the staff member brings the task back when it is ready to ‘push the button’ so that we have the opportunity for input. As confidence builds then insure projects (rather than tasks) and so on... until before you know it you aren’t needed anymore. Now that does take courage.

Well I could go on forever (maybe I have!!), but the question is, can I take this Friday off?

The answer is a bit of both for me. I am not needed in that close day-to-day way anymore, but the business does not yet run without me and in our game maybe it never will, But by a bit of planning now I think I will do that runner on Friday.