I'm sure you've heard the proverb “The shoemaker's children are often shoeless”, right? When you are running a service based business, it's inevitable; you are going to wake up one day and realize that everything about your business is out of date. Your website has 6 month old pricing, your brochures have photos of products that are collecting dust in the basement by now. You get the idea.
A couple months back, my partners and I came to the realization that we have been spending so much time working on client's that we have totally been neglecting things that will ensure the long term success of our own business. Some of the things were simple, like setting up a newsletter signup form. Not a big deal, but if we don't take the time to do it, another year will fly by and I'll be saying, “gee, I sure wish we had done this a year ago…”
We tried to squeeze in some time here and there to get some things updated, but something would always come up. This was going to take a shift in the way we do things. We needed to do something big.
Internal Work Only Days
Starting at the beginning of November, we instituted a new rule at the office; No outside client work on Fridays. We work long hours on Monday-Thursday helping our clients, but on Fridays it is all about us!
Making your own internal rules is great, but we still have to answer to clients. I was a little concerned about having to explain this to new and existing clients. You never really know how people will react. Every response has been overwhelmingly positive. A lady I spoke with earlier this week said, “Congratulations! I wish we could do the same here!”
To be clear, this doesn't mean we shut off the phone and stop answering emails. We are definitely available for our clients if there is an emergency. If a server is on fire, we'll drop what we are doing and get right on it. But, changing the color of a link from blue to purple can wait until Monday.
Our results have been great. We have some new projects that we are working on that we'll be releasing pretty soon. None of these would have happened if he hadn't taken the time to focus on ourselves.
Give it a shot. If you aren't able to give up a day a week, maybe take a day or two a month. Something, anything is better than nothing!