It’s true: people work for money. Even people who love what they do and are willing to work for free won’t do it without a salary. The corporate world has always been perceived as a ladder with people climbing looking at the “carrot” or more money as incentive. However, there is a new generation of employees now filling up the workforce called the millenials. According to a growing body of studies, this generation is not just in cubicles for their paycheck. They are indeed looking for something more.
But with an equally growing evidence of more mature working generation’s working motivations, there is a higher demand for work and life balance, something that goes against the very nature of providing more money as it equates to more responsibilities.
What is an employer to do? Here are some ways to make a winning team that’s on the ball even without the pay increase:

1. Instead of a ladder, create a jungle.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s famous COO and author of Lean In said it best: think of one’s career and the rise to the top as a jungle, not a ladder. In it she explains that going sideways or learning laterally is the way to go, with different departments and different managers contributing to one’s capabilities.
One sure way to achieve this is by having a great mentorship program wherein managers are transformed into leaders, providing key insights to mentees when it comes to the industry. It’s true, not all employees will stay even after being mentored, but the act itself shows the employees how invested the company is in their growth.

2. Make them do personal projects—on company time.
Google is famous for their innovative nature, but innovation rarely happens during the throes of work, which is why employees there always have personal projects that they work on during company time.
For employees who have kids or who commute, money is not the problem—time is, so providing at least three hours from their 40-hour work week to work on personal projects is giving them ample time to rest and yet be productive at the same time, something that the company in the end will benefit from anyway.

3. Offer telecommuting as an option if possible.
Family first is a message every company espouses or at least they think they do. But like most mantras, this is easier said than done with a ton of deliverables on a person’s head. Telecommuting is a way to bridge the gap. This can be offered to employees who are parents to kids at least 10 years old and below for starters.
The great thing about telecommuting is that employees feel that their company values their families and at the same time trusts them to get the job done.

4. Have a cause.
Most employees spend most of their lives on the job, no doubt about it. And it is truly something that no salary can pay for. Having a solid CSR program then gives the employees the chance to work for something greater than themselves and makes all the hours worth it.
No matter what, a company’s vision to make a difference counts to attract and maintain employees who are determined to make it happen without the need for adding zeroes to their salaries.

Richard Branson said it best when he boldly declared that time is the new money. For many years, management has declared that those who work long hours are deemed more productive. But today, it just isn’t so: time is the new standard with which people are judged and the more hours of it spent on working, the worst it is for a person’s well-being and reputation.

For entrepreneurs, even more so. As the captain of their respective ships, they should be the ones at the forefront of espousing work life balance and showing the right way by being out the door by 5pm. Of course, this is easier said than done. With responsibilities ranging from business development to marketing to operations, what is a consummate business owner to do?

Here are some ways to help you fight the workaholism plague and get back your hours:

1. Hire people correctly.
No aspect of a business is affected by the concept of opportunity cost than human resources. As a prized commodity, people in a business can derail or fast track its progress. For the business owner, hiring correctly makes the big difference from sleeping eight hours a day to literally being hospitalized every two months due to exhaustion. It is not just about choosing the right people, but more so, hiring the people and putting them in the right places in the company where they can be most productive and effective. Also, the number of people to hire counts a lot.
In the end, the bucket stops at the top and if the owner cannot hire right, he or she will end up doing all the tasks needed to keep the business going. The best way to mitigate this problem is by opting for outsourcing. This does not place a big strain on the company budget but at the same time, it quickly fills the spots needed. Hiring a virtual assistant allows business owners to focus on conceptualizing strategies and other tasks that require high level decision-making.

2. Stop multitasking and know one’s strengths.
For one, it is not effective, and two, studies have shown that multitasking can successfully do just one thing: shrink one’s brain.
Instead, set a timeline for each task and delegate. This frees up the hands of the entrepreneur to focus on the things they do best. As much as control is the name of the game, it does not do anyone any good.

3. Rest.
It’s easy for people to run on adrenaline, but what good does it make a person? Exhaustion simply leads to bad decisions, which then lead to more wasted time rectifying mistakes whether big or small.
Instead, rest. Sleep the right amount of hours and wake up refreshed and ready to go. Have time for leisure and other pursuits as these will help fuel creativity. The time it took to take a nap or to go for a quick swim may save you from signing a wrong contract.

4. Know what matters and tackle them during peak performance hours.
As Robin Sharma, a leading motivational speaker and consultant for many CEO’s, says: what gets written down gets done. A list that’s filled to the brim is not a good list. Priorities are few or else, they’re not really what it’s supposed to be.

The best way to solve problems is by first knowing what time one is at the most optimum level of productivity. Then, begin with the hardest tasks. Eat thy frogs first and the rest shall be peanuts—with a few minutes to spare after.

Would a neurosurgeon wash his own scrubs?  Would an astronaut source the best and most cost-effective rocket fuel?

No.  He leaves these sort of tasks to experts in those fields, leaving himself one hundred per cent free to focus on what he does best.

If you try to do everything, you’ll burn out – and when it comes to tasks you’re not expert in (like manning a Help Desk or perhaps creating your own eBook covers) it makes good economic sense to outsource or hire staff who are expert in those tasks – and who love doing them as much as you love coaching.

Reward Your Contractors or Staff

If they provide vital support for your business, reward them.  Let them know they are appreciated.  Pay them well – so they can outsource unnecessary parts of their own business – and spend more time (stress free) on yours.

There’s a horrible trend in the upper halls of internet marketing, and it spills out even to online coaching:  And that’s under-paying people who deserve to make a living as much as anyone else.  By all means try out that graphic design offer on Fiverr.com – but if the designer does an amazing job, be prepared to pay market rates after that.

Value is always good – but not at someone else’s expense.  Underpaid contractors are stressed contractors.  They work long hours to compensate, burn out fast, and lose heart for your business.

Nickel-and-diming your contractors creates bad karma:  It’s nickel-and-diming the Universe – and the Universe has a whole lot of abundance to go round.

Your clients will pick up on any hidden areas of avarice, because these will spill over into other areas of your life.  Some clichés are true – especially “Give much and expect much”.

After all, isn’t that what you’re teaching your clients?

Every business demands growth, and double-digit growth is the dream of every dedicated business owner, even when lackluster results show up at quarter’s end.

Most entrepreneurial business owners need a guide to navigate their way toward substantial, sustainable growth.  It can be done even in a slow economy as demonstrated by such companies as Harley Davidson, Starbucks, and WalMart.  Even smaller companies such as Paychex and Oshkosh Truck have been able to make gains in revenue, gross profits and net profits.

Here are 5 disciplines of sustained growth:

  •  Retain Your Customer Base:  Keep the growth that you have already earned by coaxing customers into complex relationships that make it a hassle for them to switch to your competitor.  Tailor your products/services using data gleaned from your customers giving you an advantage.  Proactively managing customer defections will help you anticipate and pre-empt them. Bonding with customers wherever emotion is tied to an interaction is another great way to retain them.
  •  Gain Market Share at the Expense of Your Rivals: Give customers a reason to abandon a competitor’s product/service for yours.  Do what it takes to lower the switching costs.  Pulling customers away from a competitor can be difficult, so you must devote many resources to raiding their customer base.  Offering higher value and quality are crucial to this end.  Buying a competitor is another way to do this.
  • Exploit Market Position:  Show up where growth is going to happen by spotting it early.  This can be done by watching the industry for shifts in buying criteria, product or service innovations, and population trends.  You must be able to spot positioning opportunities to make the most of them by continually using a systematic approach to the process.
  • Invade Adjacent Markets: Before moving into a nearby market, decide whether it offers significant long-term growth and profitability.  Determine whether you have an advantage over a competitor, and ensure you can match its standards of quality and value.
  • Invest In New Lines of Business:  If you take this approach, never overpay for a new line.  You must find simple strategies instead of complex ones, and partner with the new business by assessing its leadership team and balance sheet

Although a successful growth portfolio might not include all five of these disciplines, it must contain more than one.  Only a balanced growth portfolio can keep an organization growing when the market shifts dramatically.

 

In closing I wish a happy and safe Memorial Day to all my entrepreneurial buddies and readers. Drive carefully!