If you are looking for help with personal productivity, you might want to check out our book let go to GROW: why some businesses thrive and others fail to reach their potential. In this award-winning book, we teach you how to get your life back by delegating effectively – one of the hardest skills for entrepreneurs. We will also cover the other critical skills necessary to grow a smoothly running operation.

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Personal Productivity

businessman you tattoosQ. I am starting a new business. Initially, I’ll be working alone—a solopreneur. I am thinking about renting an office rather than working out of my home. What do you think?

A. We have both worked in offices and out of our home, so we have some prospective on this issue. Obviously, there is no one right answer to this question. The answer that’s right for you depends on your specific situation and what is most important to you. We’ll outline some pros and cons, suggest a few questions to ask yourself, and give you an alternative that may not have occurred to you.

Pros – In our home, we have a beautiful office over the garage that is separate from the rest of the house. It has a fireplace, wet bar, bathroom, large partner desk and more built-in file drawers and bookshelves than we have been able to fill. Working from home meant that we eliminated the morning commute. At home, the dress code is extremely casual. Our two cats can come by for a pat on the head in the middle of the day—or just about any other time they wish. These are all good things. In addition, working out of our home saves us the costs commonly associated with an office including rent, janitorial services, and utilities. The big pros to working out of your home are convenience and cost.

business man down on his luckGet Your Life Back

Q. I own a small business that has about 25 employees. The good news is that the business has been growing nicely and it’s profitable. The bad news is that it has taken over my life. I’m working 70 to 80 hours a week and I never get a day off. Do you have any suggestions for helping me get my life back?

A. We don’t know the details of your business, but based on what you told us, it seems that you need to delegate more effectively. It’s likely that you are performing functions that were completely appropriate when your business was smaller. You’re probably very good at them. These tasks include things such as making most tactical decisions and hiring and managing front line employees. Your skills in these areas have made your business successful.

As your business has grown, the time it takes to perform these tasks has expanded exponentially. To get your life back, you have only two choices: shrink your business to reduce your workload or delegate these responsibilities to your managers. Depending on your goals and your situation, shrinking your business may be a viable option.

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Q. I am a college student. I want to become an entrepreneur. However, it seems to me that starting a business is risky and great success will require a lot of luck. From your prospective, what are the key elements of great success in business?
A. In his landmark book Outliers, the story of success, Malcom Gladwell shares a series of in-depth studies of people who achieved tremendous success. Through these anecdotes, he makes the point that great success requires three elements: (1) God given ability, (2) luck, and (3) hard work.

shutterstock 140498647 1Q.  I'm thinking about starting a new business and becoming an entrepreneur. What are the most important things about which I should be concerned?

A.  There are three very important personal attributes of an entrepreneur. They are:

·       Adaptability―The ability to change direction as the world around you changes. One thing we can tell you with great certainty is that no matter how meticulously you plan, you will need to adjust.

helpQ.  It seems that there are thousands of self-help books, videos and courses. In addition, tens of thousands of people want to be your life coach, success counselor, business coach or spiritual guide. It’s overwhelming. Do you have a perspective on what it takes to succeed?

A.  We have lots of time listening to the likes of Earl Nightingale, Bryan Tracy, Deepak Chopra and Brendon Burchard. Many of their books and cassette tapes (yes, we are old, we have cassette tapes) still line the shelves of our office. After years of study, we have concluded that their messages are, in essence, all the same. The messages are packaged in different ways. They use different analogies, different acronyms, and tell different stories; but at the end of the day, they are saying the same thing. It all boils down to these four points:

let-go-to-grow-book If you are looking for help with sales, strategy and marketing, you might want to check out our newest program, The Three Questions Every Successful Business Person Must be Able to Answer. These three videos and workbook walk you through the powerful questions that Doug and Polly use with their personal clients to create successful business/marketing plans.

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start a business fileQ.  I'm thinking about starting a new business and becoming an entrepreneur. What are the most important things about which I should be concerned?

A. A few months ago, we wrote a column where we outlined the three most important personal attributes of an entrepreneur. They are: (1) Adaptability -- the ability to change direction as the world around you changes, (2) Persistence -- the willingness, ability and financial wherewithal to carry on through difficult times, and (3) Work Ethic -- the propensity for hard, hard work. We stick by these. You’ll need all three personal attributes. However, you’ll also need to deal with three very practical issues.

DPD LOGOWe have created a way to use our 50 years of combined business experience to serve the startup community, fledgling entrepreneurs, and businesses that are not within our geographic reach. We present Doug & Polly Direct Access.
DPDA is a service for small business owners who have an idea or problem that needs a business-specific solution. We will analyze your needs and then create a pragmatic, personalized action plan for you. We will work with you for a few weeks or several months. We will stay with you as you accomplish your goals and reach your objectivesGet Direct Access to Doug and Polly today.Pricing starts at $498 per month, but your first evaluation call is free of charge.  

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“I HIGHLY recommend Polly and Doug. They have wonderful insight to help small business owners prioritize and identify strategies for growth and improvement. Wish I had met them 20 years ago!”

Sharon MaderePresident / Premier Pet Products

My team and I have had the privilege of working with Polly on our business. Polly's keen business insight and savvy is something special. She was honest, direct, and tactful about her observations and recommendations for our team and how to grow our business. It was a pleasure having her help us and I would tell anyone that’s serious about growing their business to call Polly. She’s great!

John O’Reilly, Broker/OwnerBase Camp Realty

“Doug and Polly, I want to thank both of you! The past few months have been enlightening and overwhelming all at the same time. Your guidance, direction, wealth of knowledge, and wisdom have exceeded all my expectations. No words could ever completely describe just how amazing of a “dynamic duo” you two really are!”

Dawn Beninghove, RN, CCM, CRP, PNChief Executive Officer / Companion Extraordinaire Nursing Network, Inc.

“Doug White took on an unfocused operation (in the financial services sector) and created an efficient, centralized system dedicated to excellence. He did this not by driving change from the top down, but by helping the entire team see how their part of the process could be improved. Doug then mentored us toward effecting the changes ourselves. He taught us all how to bring our “A game,” and how to take ownership and pride in what we do.”

Donna LevinVice President of Operations / care.com

"I have had the privilege of working with Polly White for several years on a variety of projects. She consistently provides clear direction on how to resolve a wide range of employment-related issues. I look forward to my continued relationship with Polly."

Elizabeth WilkinsBusiness Manager / Manorhouse Management, Inc.

I have known Polly for more than ten years. As an HR Manager, I have utilized Polly’s training expertise at my former company and with my current company. Polly exceled at assessing the needs of our management teams and tailoring training programs that resulted in visible positive change. I also know I can count on Polly as a resource on any HR topic or bounce ideas off of her when I need a second opinion. Polly has been a mentor to me and I have always appreciated her willingness to listen and offer valuable advice and expertise.

Leigh McCullar, HR Business PartnerUniversity of Richmond

I am truly impressed with the abilities of Doug and Polly White, thank you! What a difference your expertise have made in helping Associates grow in their careers. Your dedication to excellence through empowering the individual and strengthening the Company is enlightening. I do and will continue to recommend Whitestone Partners to the Executive Market.

Suzanne Pittman, MEd VAMAC, Inc.
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