Business by remote and the 80:20 rule
Ever since a young kid I’ve been around boats, the sea and the sand and when I’m in or around these I always have a sense of my life (or the fun bank) being fulfilled rather than drained. I’ve always thought it important to keep the fun bank topped up whenever possible and so I never really escaped the boating lifestyle and ultimately I choose (or it choose me) to combine work and pleasure to a point where it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish one from the other…that’s just the way I like it.
Sure it’s not all fun and games and can be bloody hard work, but there is certainly plenty of fun to be had so it’s a question of getting the balance right. I love my work and blessed to run a successful business doing something that I’m passionate about which I think rubs off on my results, but it’s possible now even more so than ever, to mix business and pleasure by escaping the drain thanks to technology.
All business owners go through the daily grind that can drain your fun bank, where you become a slave to endless emails, endless interruptions distracting you from important core work and finding it hard to spend time with family or get out on the water at all…and if you love water, that really hurts. Reading the ‘4 Hour Work Week’ by Timothy Ferris (which I would highly recommend to those wanting to be more efficient and enjoy life), validates my choices in how our unique business model is established with the most important goal: To go remote and enable SEAbbatical excursions, short and long.
Its starts with setting up everything in the cloud and providing remote access for all team members. This includes accounting (we use Xero), CRM software (we use Salesforce), promotions (we use Campaign Monitor amongst others), a website (built on WordPress), our general file server (sits inside Dropbox) and we hold monthly conference sales meetings via Skype. This means that I or any of team can do virtually any function with a laptop, a smart phone and some form of data access – which often is 4G.
Then taking on team members that are also passionate about what they are doing and providing flexibility. Most of our sales team own the boats they sell and promote because they are passionate about what they are selling with the bonus of being able to generate a financial return. I’ve had team members call into the monthly sales meeting while crossing Bass Straight on their boat…quite extraordinarily awesome.
So while on a recent short trip diving in Vanuatu (See my diving in Espiritu Santo blog post), my business went on remote control once again. This time it’s a prospect on a new million dollar world cruiser that I talk to in-between diving a ship wreck. Last excursion which was a land based trip, I sold a new 50ft while wine tasting and over Christmas break, I sold three new 40ft catamarans in between day trips by boat to islands and inlets on Pittwater. It seems that in fact I sign more business when I’m out of the office…which suits me just fine. Partly because I can focus on the 20% of the business that brings in 80% of revenue and keeping relationships with our best clients, while not being distracted by the 80% of day to day business that does just that – causes distractions. Tim Ferris talks about the Pareto’s 80:20 rule to remove where possible the distractions that take up 80% of your time. It also means I have time to re-energize more and be inspired about what tomorrow holds and take steps to move the business forward rather than being bogged down in routine.
So shape your own business around what’s important, what brings in the results and all the while you are topping up your fun bank. Get this balance right and you may never have to work an unsatisfied day again and drains your fun bank…you might end up like me and never want to retire.