As a growing number of firms and bodies, including the TUC, are looking to cut the standard working week from five days to four1, Martin Norbury, Britain’s Top 10 Business Adviser and author of #1 Amazon Bestseller I don’t work Fridays warns that it’s Entrepreneurs who are most at risk because they’re the wrong people to lead this change.
Norbury explains: “Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the UK economy, yet so many small businesses fail to live up to their full potential because the very skills that make them so valuable at the start-up phase often become a hindrance when it comes to making a significant step-change.”
“It’s our experience working with entrepreneurs across 60+ industries, that the biggest stumbling block is letting go; business owners either let go too early or not quick enough. In order to move to a four-day week, owners will have to stop controlling everything and delegate, accepting that others may have their own ways of doing things. They’ll also need to have the right systems and processes in place to avoid failing altogether.”
Once the business owner has let go, Norbury explains the next challenge of moving to a four-day week: “Entrepreneurs simply don’t know enough about their business; they throw everything at it and hope something sticks. To make the shift to a reduced working week, owners will have to get intimate with their business to understand the impact on productivity and profitability. I’ve met too many entrepreneurs who simply don’t know their numbers or how their business is performing right now, let alone planning for the future.”
One final challenge many entrepreneurs face is a lack of focus. Norbury elaborates: “I’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and they’re all fantastic at the start-up phase; their hard work and commitment is incredible. But by nature, many become distracted by shiny new tools or the ‘next big thing’. In order to successfully operate a four-day a week at a sustainable productive level, owners must ensure they’re playing their own game and not everyone else’s. They mustn’t just jump on the bandwagon and its essential they have an end game and a plan to get there. More often than not entrepreneurs start playing everyone else’s game, meaning that they get caught up in a strategy of playing not to lose, rather than playing to win.”