Rich Man, Poor Man

working less will help your business grow

Over the years, we’ve worked with very many people and many, many small businesses. I it’s always interesting to see how a small business is run and how the owner approaches it. I was thinking about this today, and I realised there are two types of small business owners: hard workers, and smart workers.

Comparing these two is very eye-opening. Take two businesses in the same industry with the same amount of experience and you will get drastically different results depending on the owner’s approach to business. I am going to just say it: – some people work too much, which hurts the growth of their business.

I know a smart guy who only works a few hours a day on his business compared to the 12-15 hour days that other owners work each day (and a few hours each weekend). Based on my real rough estimates, I believe that his business also made about 5x as much as the other owners (in the same industry). Imagine that – you work a quarter of the time and your business makes five times as much money. Or to look at it another way, you are 20 times more productive with the time spent managing the business.

Both types of owners probably make a very comfortable income but even if I made the same amount of money, I would take the business that requires a quarter of my time. I could use that time to do whatever I wanted or I could use it to grow my business or start new businesses.

What is the Difference?
Smart business owners are incredibly gifted at creating a process oriented business. It’s a very educational experience every time we work with them or visit their offices. Everything such an owner does has to be broken down into repeatable systems and processes. If it can’t, he’s not interested in it. He could easily take on new business if he wanted, but the work would be ad hoc, and would not scale well. If it isn’t something that he can scale, he won’t do it. It might cost him 2 or 3 customers a month, but if he is spending his time creating systems to bring in 10 other customers on his terms, which one do you think is a better deal?

The other type of owner is very detail oriented. He believes very strongly in personal service and is involved in every step along the way, from marketing, to sales, to operations. Instead of delegating work to other employees, he does everything himself. Instead of creating a product that he can sell over and over again, he customizes everything for his clients.

Remember, this owner is very successful and he would be correct if he said he’s been successful for a long time doing it in his style, so I don’t want to say that hard work isn’t the right way to grow. But if he had just relinquished some control and created systems and processes so that other people could execute them, I bet his business would be a lot bigger than it is now. If he decided to put in just 1/2 the time each day that he is used to, he would be been forced to create systems that other people can execute.

When Hard Work is Required
When you are starting your own business, you need to spend a lot of time in the business, growing it. If you don’t do it, no one will. But instead of doing everything yourself, you need to start creating systems and processes so that other people can start operating the business. If you sell some sort of product, don’t be the salesperson, customer service, and operations manager.

Start out by creating systems to outsource some of the work and then continue to move away from each part of the business. Otherwise, you will be working too much and you will end up hurting the growth potential of your own business.

Additional Resources


  1. Yes, the difference is in those who use the KISS system and those who don’t .
    Keep It Simple S (I won’t add the superlative).


  1. […] you get to the level of having too much work, you might want to do what Wham called working smart. You could gather your own team and outsource some projects to them. That way, you work less and […]

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