How to Go From Firefighter to Rainmaker

How to be proactive in your business instead of just putting out fires all the time

One of the biggest challenges that many business owners face is time management. There just never seems to be enough time in the day to do all of the things that you need to do to keep your business running – much less growing.

And sometimes it seems like there’s no point in having a to-do list because there are always random things popping up throughout the day that throw you off track and keep you from engaging in income producing activities.

Have you ever found yourself sitting down for lunch and taking a look at your to-do list only to find that nothing on it got accomplished so far that day? You spent the whole day responding to emergencies and fighting fires. Your day is half over, and you didn’t even get to the first thing on your list yet.

This is not the path to success, and you need to accept this fact sooner rather than later. So here are three key shifts you need to make to get your business moving forward.

1. Use the 5 Percent Rule

In his book, Man Up, Bedros Keuilian, founder and CEO of the international Fit Body Boot Camp franchise, talks about how leaders need to delegate 95 percent of the brunt work to their employees and focus their attention on their top priorities:

“When you apply the 5 Percent Rule to your business…it’ll save you from doing things that are outside of your zone of genius, which you can pay someone else to do.”

To make money as a manager or business owner, you have to get results. You have to generate revenue and make profits. If you aren’t able to do that, then the company will suffer and might eventually need to close its doors forever.

This is why you need to focus on high-value tasks – the ones that only the manager or owner can do. That is your genius zone. Pay someone else to clean the bathroom, vacuum the floor, scan the receipts, make the photocopies, put the products away on the shelves and clean up that spill on aisle seven.

Employees can do those things for less than half your salary. So let them handle those urgent-yet-low-value tasks while you focus on the big stuff.

2. Focus on Income Producing Activities (IPAs)

So what constitutes “the Big Stuff”? Those would be income producing activities. These IPAs will vary a little from one company to the next, but they often fall into the following categories:

product development
sales
marketing
advertising
strategic planning
expansion

These are the high-value activities that you need to focus on as the leader of the company. This is what you get paid for. This is why you get paid more than the janitor, the cashier, the forklift driver, and the secretary.

3. Delegate and Outsource to Maximize Efficiency

You and your top management team are the brains of your operation. But for the brain to accomplish its mission, it needs to let the hands and feet carry out its directives. If the brain spends all day trying to do the work of the hands and feet, the whole body is in trouble.thi

Take marketing, for example.

Since marketing directly impacts sales and revenue, it falls under the umbrella of “things that need your attention”. But that doesn’t mean that you need to handle it all yourself. You set the objectives and help decide on the overall strategies, but then you delegate or outsource the actual work to someone with a lower pay grade.

If you’re writing tweets and making memes to put out on your social media accounts, that is not the best use of your time. Have your marketing team to do that for you or hand it off to a digital marketing agency. Guide them and share your vision with them to ensure branding consistency, but then let them do the work so that you can focus on your top five percent.

The same could be said for other digital marketing activities like web design, blog content creation and search engine optimization (SEO).

To succeed in business, you need to step up into your role as the leader and lead from the front. You provide the vision, the strategies, and the goals, but you need to let the employees do their jobs so that you can do yours.

So stop fighting fires all day. Delegate those tasks while you just bring the rain.

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