Hardwork is not enough. You must work smarter.

Hardwork is not enough. You must work smarter.

The old adage “work hard and you’ll get ahead” isn’t entirely accurate. Working hard isn’t enough. You also have to work smart. As in the clichéd photo (above) you can work hard all day long….but ultimately achieve nothing. It’s better to work smarter and toil less. I’m not saying you should avoid working hard…but you should know why you’re laboring so intensely. There should be a specific goal. And you should always try to shorten the path to that goal.

Ask for help

Trying to carry the load yourself…or falling into micromanaging can make your burden even heavier. You need to know when to ask for help and when to rely on others. It’s a difficult realization and even more challenging an action for many small business owners. After all you started your business to achieve success. You know the ins and outs and you’re the expert - you’re who your customers and clients rely on to get it done right. And if you pass the ball far too often you’ve seen if fumbled - so instead you take it all on yourself so you’ll know it’s done right.

But the problem with this scenario - you can’t do it all. It’s impossible and it’s unlikely you’re an expert in every field. You use an accountant, an attorney, and you go see a doctor because the have experience and knowledge that you don’t. You rely on them. Well the same holds true for many other occupations and trades.

Work smarter, hire wisely

Technology is daunting for many small business owners so you hire IT guys to keep your business running. You choose the best person or company and you trust in their abilities. If you have a problem you call them. If they’re non-responsive or fail to solve your issue you fire them and move on. But usually you’re not looking over their shoulders second guessing the DLL they’ve tweaked or the VoIP QOS rated router they install. You simply present them with a challenge and judge them based on their results. If what they’re doing is working you’re happy. If it’s not you may challenge them to do better or you replace them.

Your marketing team should help you work smarter

If your small business marketing firm isn’t helping you to grow your business then as another old adage goes, “if they’re not part of the solution they’re part of the problem.” Juggling all the responsibilities of running your own business seldom leaves time for marketing it. So usually you’ll look to a design agency or marketing firm for help and direction. But usually, these firms are order takers, they’re not true “business partners”. The good ones are - but most either suffer from sloth, client neglect, or avarice. And so they don’t fix your marketing issues. You grow dissatisfied and eventually you’re left with a bad opinion of all marketing/design firms.

A poor initial choice simply taints all other choices. After a bad breakup every new relationship is affected. But part of working smarter (instead of harder) is knowing when you have to stop looking backwards. When you have to open up again to the concept of trusting a new professional. It’s a challenge, but just like dating, when you find the right partner it’ll produce a healthy, loving marriage. Sure they’ll be fights and troubles - you want a bit of fire in the mix - but if things are working then you should work together to make things better.

May 04, 2012

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