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This Pop Quiz Will Tell You If You’re Working Too Hard as a Business Owner

Pop Quiz: Answer these 10 questions to determine if changes need to be made.





Are You Working on Your Business? Or in It?


1. Do you have an operations manual?

a. No. I’m not running a fast-food joint.
b. Yes. Unfortunately, it’s located inside my head.
c. Yes, it’s 100 pages long and covers every aspect of doing business in my shop – ranging from greeting customers, answering telephones, taking in repairs, purchasing replacement stock, and handling upset customers.
d. Yes, but it’s pretty short and primarily covers procedural things … like opening and shutting the business.

2. Do you have an organizational chart?

a. No, but everybody knows their jobs.
b. Yes. It has five different divisions and numerous positions reporting to each. Funny thing is, we only have three people on our production floor.
c. Yes. It’s pretty basic, but we’ll fill it out as we get bigger.
d. I only have three people. Why do I need an organizational chart?

3. How do you check up on your staff and enforce business standards?

a. MBWA. Management by walking around.
b. Checking sales numbers and reviewing customer feedback … like complaints and the results of customer satisfaction surveys.
c. I don’t. I trust them to do their jobs and if they don’t … eventually I will find out.
d. Strong manager who supervises employee performance closely and reports to me with overall shop performance, with positive reinforcement (praise, prizes, bonuses) given to those performing desired behaviors.



4. What’s your main responsibility?

a. Doing whatever it takes for my business to survive.
b. Training and managing my employees, so they can manage my business.
c.. Serving as a consultant to my business … adapting systems so that my business runs more efficiently.
d. Working hard, to set a good example for my employees.

5. How much time do you spend at your business compared to your staff members?

a. Far more than any of my employees.
b. Same as any of my employees.
c. Far less than any of my employees.
d. Hey, thanks for reminding me! I haven’t visited my shop in months.

6. Do you see yourself as a craftsman, a manager, or an entrepreneur?

a. Equal parts of all three.
b. Entrepreneur and manager.
c. Pure entrepreneur. I love dreaming about building my business bigger.
d. Craftsman. I love the work I do, and sometimes get completely lost in it.

7. If I left the shop for a week, I would …

a. Not give it a second thought.
b. Are you on drugs? I would never leave my shop for an entire week.
c. Make sure they had my phone number in case any emergencies occurred.
d. Make sure they had my phone number in case of emergency. And if they don’t call, I’d call them six times a day to make sure everything was going all right.


8. Have a new pet project? How do you handle it?

a. Try to do it myself, when I can find a little spare time … oh, let’s face it, I won’t ever find the time.
b. First, spend some time brainstorming. Then write a project outline. Then either hire a contractor or bring together my staff and create a team to improve on my outline and implement the project. Then hold weekly meetings so they can report to me regularly on their progress.
c. Brainstorm and work as a team. The budget isn’t always there to do the things we want to do, so we figure out ways we can get the closest effect possible for the smallest possible cost. But we won’t stand still.
d. Do most of the work myself. Call for reinforcements if I get overwhelmed.

9. What’s your best time for real brainstorming?

a. During my morning commute.
b. During commercial breaks while watching “Abbot Elementary.”
c. During my annual solo retreat to the lake. It’s just me, the sun, the water, and a stack of business books up to my waist. Pure bliss!
d. During my annual ski vacation with my wife and kids.

10. What’s the best way for you to tell how your business is doing?

a. By the number of creditors calling me to collect on overdue payments.
b. By sitting down at the computer, firing up Excel, and tallying up daily register receipts.
c.. Our numbers sheet … which is emailed to me daily and features key numbers, which display overall business performance, including net overall profit and performance of individual profit centers, with separate columns for customer satisfaction metrics like complaints, as well as a small wrap-up of the day’s key events from my production floor manager.
d. Total sales are easily tabulated by our point-of-sale software program, and we print these figures out at the end of each day.



When was the last time you read a book that would improve your business?

a. Last week.
b. Three months ago.
c. Last year.
d. I learn valuable advice on running a business from HBO’s “Succession.”


1. a. 0 points; b. 1 point; c. 3 points; d. 2 points
2. a. 1 point; b. 3 points; c. 2 points; d. 0 points
3. a. 1 point; b. 2 points; c. 0 points; d. 3 points
4. a. 0 points; b. 2 points; c. 3 points; d. 1 point
5. a. 0 points; b. 1 point; c. 2 points; d. 3 points
6. a. 2 points; b. 3 points; c. 1 point; d. 0 points
7. a. 3 points; b. 0 points; c. 2 points; d. 1 point
8. a. 0 points; b. 3 points; c. 2 points; d. 1 point
9. a. 1 point; b. 0 points; c. 3 points; d. 2 points
10. a. 0 points; b. 1 point; c. 3 points; d. 2 points

BONUS QUESTION. a. 3 points; b. 1 point; c. 0 points; d. 0 points


0-9. We hate to be the ones to tell you this, but you don’t own a business, you own a job. And your boss is one of the biggest pains-in-the-butts around … yourself. He runs you ragged, gives you all the dirty jobs, and doesn’t pay you what you deserve. Our advice: Take a three-day weekend – surely, that’s all the time you can afford – and think long and hard about whether you can continue to work like this. If you can’t, consider an easier life as someone’s employee.

10-19. Living in the moment is a romantic idea when it comes to your personal life. But as a business philosophy, it’s a recipe for disaster. You need to step back and start thinking about how to make your business run independently of you. An hour spent training an employee or putting an important procedure into words for your operations manual will save you hundreds of hours in the future. At first, this might make an already hard job harder, but suck it up and keep pushing.

20-27. You’ve got a nice degree of freedom. And you’ve achieved a solid balance between working on your business – and working in it. When things get busy, you might find yourself juggling more responsibilities than you care to. But keep refining your system, and delegating responsibility to your employees. Your end-goal is to serve your business purely as a consultant.

28-33. You’re living the good life. You can wake up every morning … and do whatever the heck you want. Anyway, it looks like you’ve got this challenge licked … so what’s the next step? Open up another print shop on the template you’ve built with your first? Or is it time to start picking at your autobiography? It’s all up to you.




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