Why entrepreneurs need to get out of the office
It's hard to leave the comfort of your cushy office chair, surrounded by what has become our most familiar items; our desk, our computer, our coffee cup and an endless ream of notepads.
I challenged myself as the new year came around to be more effective in the office. While I will never have a 4 hour work week (who really does?), I certainly plan to utilise my time in the office on productive "on the business" not "in the business" tactical items.
This week my office as been Aspen Colorado. While many of you may laugh at this, I can assure you that I have done as much work during the week as I would have done so sitting at my desk and I have certainly been more productive.
I have met with more than a dozen businesses, written a feature article for a magazine and used the fresh mountain air to open myself up to idea generation and explanation of what else can I do to reach my company goals.
There are a few things that I have learned this week that are good reminders of why entreprenuers should get out of the office:
- Staff step up: It's true. They learn to live without you there and while it may be scary making some decisions without checking, mostly they learn that they are more capable than they first thought and can survive without second guessing themselves. After a week of "no boss" they all feel empowered to take off the training wheels and start thinking for themselves.
- Ideas don't come from working hard: The best ideas I have ever come up with have been at the weirdest times; at a dinner party, riding in a taxi and going for a run. They haven't come from working 12 hour days.
- Opportunities come when you least expect them: I was skiing down the slopes of Snowmass in Aspen, and as I stopped for hot chocolate, I met other skiers who just so happened to own businesses. They each told me about their businesses and asked if I would mind meeting up with them to discuss how we can work together.
- The business survives and flourishes when I am not there: I have a talented bunch of marketers, graphic designers, web developers, branding experts, publicists and journalists and when I am not there, they take over all the things that need to be done, even if it's "not their job". All of a sudden, their WIP meetings become "whole of company" brainstorming exercises where they look at the business and work out what needs to be done. It seems that when I go away, everyone rolls up their sleeves and not only do the job that they are employed to do, but think of other things that can improve the overall performance of the business.
- Gaps become more evident: If there is a gap in the business, when an entrepreneur like me travels, it becomes more evident. Sometimes this ends in disaster or acts as a gateway to help entrepreneurs realise what needs to be improved in the business.
Overall, my trip has been highly successful. I am refreshed. I have worked hard. I have played harder. And I have met some amazingly inspiring people. What more can I ask?