If you’re a franchise owner with a family, your typical day probably goes something like this:
You wake up in the five or six o’clock hour. Depending on their age, you either get your kids ready for school or you feed them and change them. Then you get yourself ready and head out the door with a breakfast bar or a handful of Cheerios.
You’ll eat later.
Work is crazy. Work is always crazy. So many fires to put out, so many emails to answer. So many emails.
Meanwhile, the school is calling, your son is sick (or worse, he’s in the principal’s office). Can someone pick him up? You’re calling your spouse. You’re dashing out of the office, but you have to go back.
Then you get home around six-thirty. Or maybe you don’t go home yet. You take your kids to practice, or to their lessons, or to their friends’ houses. At some point you eat, you do homework, you put them to bed, you brush your teeth, and you exchange a brief series of conversations with your spouse.
A lot of this is logistical because you will do this all over again tomorrow. You’re too exhausted to worry about it now. You fall asleep.
Running a franchise is challenging. But most people have a lot more than a business to run.
Too often today, though, we aren’t the CEO of our lives. We get by. We do what has to be done, but we don’t maintain an overarching vision of how we want our lives to go and take steps to execute that vision. We let ourselves get run over.
If you’re to become the CEO of your life as well as run your business, you have to be proactive and take charge. Here’s how I do it.
Set Your Priorities
You can’t control your life without deciding what’s most important. For me, my relationship with my wife comes first at home. I also have three school aged kids, but my belief is your children learn about relationships from their parents.
So we have date night. Every Friday night. And I don’t start calling babysitters on Wednesday. I have one on retainer. I pay her whether we go out or not, so that she’s not missing a paycheck just because one of us came down with a cold.
The benefit for me is that the babysitter tends to be pretty loyal. And anyone with young kids knows how easy it is to lose a babysitter, and what a headache it is to find a new one in a hurry.
I also plan family vacations a year in advance.
I know where I’m going to be on July 4th. I know I’ve got a family reunion next summer, and I’m not going to miss it because something comes up at work.
Because something will come up at work.
When you plan a year ahead, you’re giving the people who support you full notice, with enough time to train them if necessary, so that the business doesn’t miss a beat when you’re gone.
Conflicts have come up in the past and they will come up again. That’s why I’ve adopted this philosophy. In my industry, December through January is the most important time of year. This is when businesses are signing up for payroll services.
Because of that, my family does what we call “Christmas in July.” We know I’m not going to have any extended time off during the typical holiday season. Rather than try to squeeze it in, and spend the vacation on the phone with work, disappointing my family, I plan around it.
When you run a franchise, you have to be just as aware of what you can’t do (or can’t do well) as you are of what you can do.
Sometimes you can’t take on every project or provide every service. Often what makes a franchise successful is that it finds out what it does better than anyone else and sells that.
The same is true at home. My kids aren’t in every single sports league. We go to church on Sunday and if the games are all on Sundays, it’s just not going to work for us.
Every family has different values and things that are important to them. If you don’t make sure those things are front and center, they get lost.
So stop trying to do everything. You’re running a business. You’re taking care of a family. I’m sure you have enough on your plate. You don’t need to enroll your kids in a traveling team or get them private swimming lessons, or whatever it is they want or their friends want.
Remember, you’re the CEO. You’re the mom, you’re the dad. You’re driving the car. The kids are in the backseat watching everything you do.
It’s not your job to please everyone. It’s your job to make tough choices for the greater good, of your business and your life.
Andy Roe is the General Manager of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex Company. SurePayroll is the trusted provider of easy online payroll services to small businesses nationwide.
You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndrewSRoe or visit: www.surepayroll.com