It need not be! Yes, operating an OBC Better Butchery franchise involves long hours, especially during the early stages, but it need not consume you. With careful planning and responsible delegation of duties, you can get time off without losing control. This article offers suggestions on how you can achieve this.

Realities to consider

We have no wish to raise unrealistic expectations. Our stores trade from early to late seven days a week, so long hours are the rule rather than the exception. We can’t change that. We also know that during the first year or two after start-up, effective delegation may be beyond your reach but eventually it needs to happen.

For delegation to be effective requires systems, procedures and a team of people you can rely on. We as the franchisor provide the systems and procedures. Building your in-house team is your responsibility. This step will take money, effort and time but it is absolutely necessary.

Your personality type comes into play as well. Creating work-life balance for an individual who is convinced that without them being in direct control, everything will fall apart is an almost impossible undertaking. Fortunately, even if you fall into this category, all is not lost.

As a first step, you’d have to learn to “let go”. It is in the long-term interest of your health and sanity and your business will function better for it. The proliferation of electronic devices and the “always-on” lifestyle resulting from it has exacerbated the situation because it encourages entrepreneurs to remain in control regardless of time or location.

This has a devastating impact on your productivity and health. It is also unsustainable in the long term. Many studies into the lifestyles of entrepreneurs have shown that entrepreneurs who focus on work only are ultimately less successful than those who adopt a balanced lifestyle.

Where to begin?

A balanced lifestyle is definitely achievable but only you can make it happen. You need to make a conscious decision that going forward, you will manage your work life and your personal life in a manner that keeps you happy and rounded. This will require some work but the following pointers will help you get there.

  • List your priorities

List everything that is important to you. Include work, family, other personal relationships, your spiritual life, hobbies and fun activities, whatever makes you tick. It is important that you write it down. Remember: These are personal choices, there are no rights or wrongs, so don’t allow yourself to be influenced by what others might think.

  • Analyse how you actually spend your time

The second, and equally important, preparatory step is to keep a detailed record of everything you actually do. Yes, this is yet another task that will add to your workload but it’s absolutely necessary. One week’s findings should suffice.

  • Map out your future life

Analyse your list of activities and divide them into three groups:

    • What do you want to do more of?
    • What you want to do less of?
    • What can safely be discarded?

You may find that you spend the bulk of your time on tasks that could either be delegated or scrapped altogether. Knowing what tasks you want to delegate will help you determine what skills members of your team should possess.

Convert personal priorities into specifics

Most people find it useful to spend 10 to 15 minutes each morning or the evening before on planning the day ahead.

  • Start by selecting a reasonable number of activities from your list of priorities and allocate adequate time to each.
  • Allow for work-related tasks as well as for family time, hobbies etc.
  • Unless you are specific when you prepare your plan and committed towards adhering to it throughout the days, weeks and months that follow, things are unlikely to change in any meaningful way.

Leave work at work and your personal life at home

It is unlikely that you would bring personal problems to work so why should you bring work-related problems home? Every happily married couple who operate a business together will tell you that the secret of their happiness lies in being able to “switch off.” Yes, crisis situations will arise you will have to deal with but don’t make a habit of it.

Take care of your personal well-being

Unless you are in good shape physically, mentally and emotionally, your best-laid plans will come to nought. That’s why you need regular health checks, a good diet, plenty of exercise and enough sleep.

Know when to ask for help

As our franchisee, you have a head start. We understand the process you are going through and your FSC will be happy to assist wherever possible.

At first, baby steps…

In the beginning, you might not be ready to hire someone who can seamlessly take over the running of your business; that’s OK. Start by delegating small tasks to an existing staff member. Chances are that they will grow into the role of store manager over time.

To achieve sustainable results, approach the task of delegation as follows:

  1. Resolve to let go and stick to it. Unless you are mentally prepared to delegate and fully committed towards making it happen, you are not ready. Take a step back because the wrong approach to delegation is bound to result in disaster.
  2. Select the person you will delegate a specific task to with care.
  3. Fully explain the task to be delegated. Don’t assume anything and check for true understanding. Pushing someone in at the deep end of the pool and expecting them “to sink or swim” is not delegation. It’s irresponsible management.
  4. Set out the level of authority that comes with the assignment and inform those likely to be impacted.
  5. Resist the temptation to micro-manage the person you have delegated a task to. Let them get on with the job. However, should completion of the task extend over a lengthy period, build in some progress markers. This is in keeping with the motto: “Trust but verify!”
  6. After completion of the task, review outcomes, allocate praise (if deserved) and offer advice (if required.)