It was 6:34 PM and a client calls me frustrated beyond the level of any normal human being. It was clear his priorities have been misplaced and before I can even finish saying “hello” he explodes into a tirade on how he can’t login to his laptop and he is about ready to throw it out the window!
Like most of my small business owners, his personality couldn’t stop him from trying to solve the problem on his own and my instincts tell me he has been troubleshooting for some time and this phone call is his last resort before he tests the laptop’s aerodynamics.
Your priorities should be based on your expertise skillset.
Listening to his long and descriptive list of trial and errors, I determine he is having issues with the authenticating server. Now, we could have gone thru a myriad of trouble shooting steps but all he wanted was to get into a word document on his desktop.
Seeing I was on the highway returning from my son’s swim practice, I need to get creative if I wanted to get him back to being productive. I suggested that he disconnect from the internet and then try to login again. This would hopefully force the laptop to login locally and not try to login to the uncooperative server
I could tell he was a bit apprehensive, but now it was my priority to get him fixed. Now I am sure he wanted to hear some elaborate solution. but sometimes you just need to get back on task. So I did do my best to explain how it works with an analogy about how kids will ask one parent for permission to do something and if they don’t get the answer they want, they go and ask the other. It’s not exactly how domain authentication works, but it does use common language to draw a picture that is close enough from where he is sitting. Even with all that, I could tell he didn’t have much hope.
Prioritize your focus on your revenue driven expertise. Outsource everything else.
About 3 minutes later my phone rings again from the same number and I heard that familiar southern drawl, “Son of a GUN! It worked! Do you know how long I have been fussin’ with this?” I think to myself, too long. “2 hours! I tried everything I could for 2 HOURS! I call you, and I am in in 2 Seconds!”
“Man, I feel stupid”, he says. I tell him, “No, the only mistake you made was not calling me an hour and forty-five minutes ago. If you did you would be done working on your document by now”. I remind him to let me handle the technology while his priority is handling the business. He chuckled and we both hung up smiling.
It is important as a business owner to keep your time on high valued tasks.
Spending two hours trying to fix your laptop is two hours you will never have to build your business and it is an easy argument that knowing how to fix login issues should not be a business owners priority. You only have so many hours in a day. Why spend them on tasks that are not making you money?
Set your priorities around high valued tasks. The more time you spend on the high value things the higher the value you bring to your day. So often I find owners dragged into tasks that have zero or little value to the business because they have the mindset why pay someone when I can do it myself? Well, if you could pay someone a $1000 while you made $5000 dollars would you do it?
Do you outsource any part of your business? If so, why? I would love to hear in the comments below any story about outsourcing. Has it worked? Failed? Let me know!