Keeping a sense of perspective as you run a business out of a spare bedroom can be a job unto itself, small business advisors say. With no boss keeping tabs on the company math, it’s all too easy, says John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, to allow yourself the leisurely lunch breaks and hammock days that can sink your entrepreneurship.
“It’s eye opening to people when they learn how much an hour costs,” he said.
“If you want to make $100,000 a year working 40 hour weeks, the entire time you have to be doing work worth $50 an hour.”
Which is why, he advises, you have to obey your to-do list religiously. Tack a project list to your wall to make sure you’re chasing the big goals, he adds.
“You need to constantly have that discipline to focus on the pay-off work,” Jantsch warns. “Reading a magazine or cleaning the office probably isn’t worth $100 an hour.”
Leaving the office, however, could be the most profitable thing you do all day.
“For people just starting off, the highest pay-off work you can do is get out of the office,” Jantsch says. “Go network, and start meeting people.”
Assemble a Board of Advisors.
Every business, no matter how miniscule, needs a set of advisors, says Jim Blasingame, author of Small Business Is Like a Bunch of Bananas.
“The dream is that you have lunch once a month with your attorney, your insurance agent, your accountant, your consultant, and you all sit around the table and talk,” he says.
It almost never happens, he adds. For a one-businessperson show, you’d do better to start with a single consultant paid for keeping an eye on the company’s bottom line.
“It doesn’t need to be a friend,” he stresses. “It needs to be someone you’re paying for absolute brutal, brutal bloodletting, gut-wrenching, eviscerating candor.
Meet with Customers
There’s one sort of advice you can seek that’s free, plus it’s always right: the customer’s
“About once a quarter, bring five or six of your customers for lunch,” Jantsch suggests. “Not only will you get out of the house, you’ll create a networking opportunity.”