Forget Work-Life Balance. This Is More Effective–and Doable

If you haven’t eaten dinner with your family in the past week, haven’t taken a day off in over a year, and feel like you still don’t have enough time to finish your work, you’re doing something wrong.

Ivan Misner, founder and chairman of global networking organization BNI, knows how unbalanced life is while running your own business.

Misner has written 20 books, runs BNI offices across the world from North America to Asia, and has a wife and kids. If you ask him, he’ll tell you he doesn’t live a balanced life. He’ll also tell you that you’ll never achieve balance either. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t lead a healthy life.

“Do you want to know the secret to balance? Forget about balance, you’ll never have it,” Misner told me recently. “You cannot have balance as an entrepreneur, but you can create harmony.”

The difference, Misner says, is not just semantics. “Harmony is something different. When you look at the scales of justice, people think balance is something they need but it’s not realistic,” he says. “For the entrepreneur, who has the most unbalanced life, [he or she] needs to get over it.”

Be here now.

Misner says three words are the key to start a harmonious life: “Be here now.” Whereever you are, be there in mind, body, and spirit. “When you’re at work, don’t think about the time you didn’t spend with your kids last night. Be at work,” Misner says. “If you’re home, don’t think about that project at the office, be with your kids. It sounds simple, but it’s not easy. If it was easy everyone would do it. This is about focus–focus on the people you are with and make sure to be fully and completely there.”

Make time for the most important things.

Set aside time for the most important things and tasks in your life. This sometimes means you’re going to need to get creative. Misner says it’s important for him not to be an absentee dad. So, he squeezes writing books into his night hours.

“I’d hang with the kids, eat family dinner together, hang out, put them to bed, and go into my office at home at 10 p.m. and work until 3, or 5 or 6, grab a few z’s, and go into the office,” he says. “When my first book came out, my oldest daughter was surprised, ‘When did you write a book?'” He’s now writing his 20th book.

Integrate tasks.

Unlike much of the advice you might read about creating solid work and life boundaries, Misner says merging them together is the only way to go.

“For many years, I’d spend summers at the lake house and work remotely. But then, I decided to bring my management team with me for three or four days at a time while my kids and wife were with us,” he says. “If you can integrate work-life elements together, you can create harmony. My life is way out of balance–I’m on the road for nine months this year, but I am not an absentee dad. My wife comes with me and our kids, who are now adults, will meet us and we’ll make it a vacation.”

Remember: You can’t have it all.

You can’t do it all. It’s impossible, Misner says, so you have to pick and choose and practicetime management. If you want to be a decent spouse, then make time to take off and recharge your battery. If an urgent work project comes up that will ruin the company, leave the vacation and make it up to them. But keep in mind this one thing: “Remember when you’re 70 years old, you’re not going to look back and wish you spent more time at the office,” Misner says. “But, you will regret not fostering a better relationship with your kids and partner.”

WILL YAKOWICZ | Staff Writer | Reporter, Inc.com

Will Yakowicz is a reporter at Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and politics at Patch.com, and his work has been published in Tablet Magazine and The Brooklyn Paper.

Article Source

How Small Rewards Drive Innovation

What rewards do you offer employees for their disruptive ideas? If it’s half the value of the idea, you may be spending too much, and end up with too many ideas.

Yes, there is such a thing as having too many ideas. And because innovative projects must be implemented efficiently, they can become too unwieldy to manage.

That’s according to Oliver Baumann, an associate professor of management at the University of Southern Denmark, and Nils Stieglitz, a professor of management at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, who researched how reward systems can impact idea-generation. Together they created a virtual workplace not unlike Sim City, in which employees were asked to come up with ideas in exchange for rewards.

The results were intriguing: The bigger the reward, the bigger the ideas that flowed into the company’s pipeline, sometimes to the point of excess. When virtual employees received smaller rewards, however, they came up with smaller but more useful ideas. “Our research shows that high-powered rewards are no better than low-powered incentives at producing radical innovations,” the researchers wrote in the Harvard Business Review. “They may generate excitement and high hopes, but they result in few breakthrough concepts.”

Big ideas are also harder to implement. “The companies were quickly hampered by what we dubbed the ‘congested project pipeline’ effect,” wrote the authors. “Because taking action would have required investing resources such as management attention, the firms were unable to act on most of the ideas that were generated.”

Slow and steady idea generation wins the race.

In the real world, 3M allows employees to use 15 to 30 percent of their time to work on pet projects. Google goes even further, offering creative employees up to several million dollars in stock for the idea that wins a Founders Award.

Still, it’s important to remember that rewards only go so far. “Past research suggests you might need a culture or organizational structure that encourages play, serendipity, and random interaction,” the authors write. “A few companies are experimenting, counterintuitively, with switching the focus from success to failure, rewarding employees who dare to stick their necks out.”

Considering how powerful it can be to own your mistakes, that’s not such a bad idea.

WILL YAKOWICZ | Staff Writer | Reporter, Inc.com

Will Yakowicz is a reporter at Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and politics at Patch.com, and his work has been published in Tablet Magazine and The Brooklyn Paper. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Link to article

8 ways to know if you have a Job or own a Business

The ultimate test of your business can be found in a simple question: would someone want to buy your company?

Whether you want to sell next year or a decade from now, you must be building an asset someone would buy – otherwise, you have a job, not a business.

Here are eight ways to ensure you are building a company, not just doing a job:

  1. A job requires that you show up at work to make money, whereas a company generates revenue whether you are there or not.
  2.  If your company is so reliant on a single customer that they can dictate how you deliver your product or service, your company is more like a job than a valuable business.
  3.  A job is a place where your personal reputation impacts your results, whereas a company is a place where the brand is more important than the personality of the founder(s).
  4.  A job requires you to use your personal experience and expertise to get a result, whereas a company is a place where a process – not a person – consistently produces a desirable result.
  5.  In a job, you get fired for taking too much vacation, whereas if you own a company, the more vacation you can take without impacting your company’s performance, the more valuable your business will be.
  6.  In a job, the harder you work, the more money you earn. In a company, the smarter you work, the more money you earn.
  7.  In a job, you solve the problems. If you own a company, your employees solve the problems.
  8.  If the majority of your customers know your mobile phone number, it’s likely you have a job, not a company.

If you’re not sure whether you have a job or own a business, it’s time to get your Sellability Score. Whether you want to sell now or in a decade, the Sellability Score assessment allows you to see your business as a buyer would see it, and to identify how you perform on each of the eight key drivers of sellability. The questionnaire takes about 13 minutes to complete, and after you’re finished you’ll get a customized 27-page report outlining how you performed and where you could improve the value and sellability of your company. Get your score now (Click Here).

Sellability Score

Frank Mancieri, 401-651-1585, frank@gtGrowth.com, www.gtGrowth.com

6 little things that make a big difference to the value of your company

Here is a list of six little details to get right, before you put your business on the market:

  1. Find your lease. If you rent space, you may be required to notify your landlord if you intend to sell your company. Read through the fine print and ensure you’re not scrambling at the last minute to seek permission from your landlord to sell.
  2.  Professionalize your books. Consider having audited financial statements prepared to give a buyer confidence in your bookkeeping.
  3.  Stop using your company as an ATM.  Many business owners run trips and other perks through their business, but if you’re planning to sell, these treats will artificially depress your earnings, which will reduce the value of your company in the eyes of a buyer by much more than the value of the perks.
  4.  Protect your gross margin. Oftentimes, when leading up to being listed for sale, companies grow by chasing low-margin business. You tell yourself you need top-line growth, but when an acquirer sees your growth has come at the expense of your gross margin, she will question your pricing authority and assume your journey to the bottom of the commoditization heap has begun.
  5.  If you’re lucky enough to have formal contracts with your customers, make sure your customer contracts include a “survivor clause” stipulating that the obligations of the contract “survive” the change of ownership of your company. That way, your customers can’t use the sale of your company to wiggle out of their commitments to your business. Have a lawyer paper the language to ensure it has teeth in your jurisdiction.
  6.  Get your Sellability Score. Take 13 minutes to answer the Sellability questionnaire now. You’ll see how you performed on the eight key drivers of sellability and you can identify any gaps you need to fill before taking your business to market. http://www.sellabilityscore.com/b2b-cfo-1/frank-mancieri

Selling a business can be an all-or-nothing affair. Get it right and you will walk away a winner.

Frank Mancieri, Chief Growth Advisor, GT Growth & Transition Strategies, LLC
401-651-1585, frank@gtGrowth.com, www.gtGrowth.com

cropped-300x76.jpg

Do you know what drives value in your business?

The Sellability Score is a quantitative tool designed to analyze how sellable your business is.  You may not be thinking of exiting your business now, but it is always a good idea to know its strengths and weaknesses and improve on the overall value before a major event takes place.

  • Absolutely Free
  • Confidential
  • 13-minute survey

After completing the questionnaire, you will immediately receive a Sellability Score out of 100 al
ong with instructions for interpreting your results. An advisor will contact you to arrange a review of yourSellability Score full report.

Click here to learn more about the survey and/or to take the survey