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Do you run your business or does it run you?

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 | By Amanda Jesnoewski

It's one of those questions that can make us squirm isn’t it? Because while we want to be the one running our business, more often than not it’s our business that’s running us.

 

It dictates how much work we do, when we have a day off and when (or if) we get a holiday. So how do you make sure you maintain control?

 

Here are four tips to make sure you stay the boss of your business:

 

1. Set boundaries

 

Clearly defined boundaries are vital to ensuring you maintain control of your business.

 

Establish your publicly perceived work hours and your actual work hours. Work out your sacred times that are specifically for family and personal time where no work is allowed. Prioritise what is most important and make sure that goes on your schedule first.

 

2. Get a life

 

Build a life outside your business too. Many of us have gone into business following our passion which can make this even harder - because work is fun and enjoyable to us.

 

Still, we need to make time to explore all that life has to offer: To enjoy our hobbies, relax on holiday, go out with friends and family and try new things - without thinking about the next sale or deadline.

 

3. Keep business communication in business hours

 

When clients and business associates see you contacting them at all hours of the night and morning, they assume you are always working. Some will even begin to expect you to be available to them at any time of the day - and it's hard to change that once a pattern is established.

 

So while you may be working to all hours, try not to let clients see it, stick to your publicly displayed work hours so your downtime is well respected.

 

If you prefer to write your emails out at night or early in the morning, then schedule them to send or keep them in your draft folder until the next morning.

 

4. Give up some control

 

As business owners we often fall into the trap of thinking no-one can do it quite like we do. We're faster, better, more experienced and more thorough.

 

While it may be true on some levels, you need to ask yourself what you really want. Is it to be the quickest, fastest or best at a task or to have the freedom, lifestyle and flexibility that comes when you free up more of your time? To own the work or own the system that other people are working for you?

 

So ask yourself honestly, who is in control of your business right now?