Take It And Run!

For Love Or Money

Balancing the work you love with the nuts and bolts of running your business

Considering the driving force behind most new businesses is the entrepreneur's passion for his or her product or service, many new owners are taken by surprise when they realize just how little time they get to spend doing the work they love.

That's what happened to Joan Eisenstodt, 52, when she started her meetings management and consulting firm, Eisenstodt Associates, in Washington, DC, in 1981. Although she comes from an entrepreneurial family, Eisenstodt didn't realize how much time she would have to spend running the nuts and bolts of her company until she was actually in business.

No matter what industry you're in, being the owner means you must pay attention to a variety of administrative and management details, not to mention marketing and selling. So what can you do to maximize the amount of time you're doing what you love and still effectively run your business? Eisenstodt shares her tips:

  • Know your strengths and weaknesses. Understand which parts of the management and marketing processes you can and want to do, and which parts you need help with.
  • Set up a support team. Outsource the mundane tasks you'd prefer not to do, such as record-keeping, database management and other administrative chores. But avoid an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude, Eisenstodt cautions. It's still your business, and you need to pay attention to what's going on.
  • Have the right tools. Eisenstodt started her business with an electric typewriter, but that was nearly two decades ago. Today, she says, it's essential to have the necessary technology, particularly in terms of computers and communications, and to know how to use it. Having the right tools lets you use your time efficiently.

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This article was originally published in the November 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Take It And Run!.

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