Winning at Business with Jeffery Ingram
In this second post in this series, Jeff and I share about winning at business as a couple. We will discuss how we do this whole business thing together. So if you haven't read our previous post where we talk about winning at life, go do that first. That one is really the foundation in order to make this one work.
How are we winning at business?
How is it that we don't get sick of each other? We've been together almost non-stop for 11 months because of COVID. 11-months of living, working, and parenting together. And we actually share an office too. So, how do we make this business work?
What do you think is the key to making the business side of this work?
I'm going to go to another personality test here. In our previous post in this series, I was knocking them. But this one, I like a little better. It's not really a personality test. This test measures how you work. It's the Kolby A assessment.
This assessment was eye-opening to me because it really confirmed why I'm successful. In all the jobs I've had (tech analysis, product and project manager), I've done stuff that I am very good at doing.
This assessment really helped me understand how I work. I learned that I'm a visionary creative person. And I'm very good at coming up with solutions.
So once you know how you work, you need to figure out how you and your partner complement each other. Figure out what holes in your business you need to get help for so that your business can move forward.
Learning how you work will help you be more effective. Overworking won't. You need to work with your strengths.
I think the Kolby A was really helpful. Knowing how we work and when our best time to work is, has really helped us know how to split up childcare.
Jeff is not a morning person. I'm more of a morning person than he is. He is more focused in the afternoon. Whereas, I tend to lose focus in the afternoon. So one thing that we did when splitting up childcare, is that I work in the morning and Jeff works in the afternoon. That way we are both working during our optimum focus time, and taking care of Erik when we are not working.
Take a look at your strengths
As you look at your strengths, you'll eventually need to hire people to fill in the gaps. For right now, Jeff's going to be taking over the ads because that's a very creative thing, but it's also an analytical thing. It's a perfect type of job for him to focus on.
I'll keep on handling the front-facing and the sales piece of our business. We have people behind the scenes who handle a lot of the detail stuff for us. Because even though I'm an accountant and I can do details, I don't Like them. Because we're both big thinkers, planners, and idea people, we need detailed execution people on our team.
Define roles to help with winning at business
Once you identify what your strengths are, it's really important to split up the roles. You must have very defined roles that determine what you're going to do, and what your spouse is going to do. Have it written out, especially as your business gets more and more complicated.
It's like having an organizational chart, with the roles that you'd like to have someday in your business or that you're doing. Then you can fill those roles out with the people you have right now. And hopefully, you can hire out.
But you need to make sure that in every piece of your business, there is a responsible party for each role.
Outsourcing will help with winning at business
Outsourcing is so important. Hiring someone is much more affordable than you think. You can hire someone for five hours a week. They're not going to be an employee for you, but a contractor. You can hire someone providing hours a week or for a project. For example, if you need someone to do a bunch of images for you for a new product launch, hire someone to do that for you. You don't have to do all of the work.
Kris and I try to get everything done and be the person that gets everything done. However, we need to check each other on that because we both have a tendency to fall into that role.
You can pretty much outsource anything these days. Hire a virtual assistant to do some projects. You can hire a bookkeeper if bookkeeping is not your thing. It's way less expensive than you think.
But you need to sit down and see what all the components of the business are. Figure out who takes what. And then figure out what to outsource.
Work in your zone of genius
Work in your zones of genius too. For instance, Kristin does know technology stuff, and she could probably figure out some technological solutions for most of the stuff we've done. But she doesn't have to worry about it or do it. She can ask me.
It can get frustrating at times though because I don't know the answer. There's a lot of stuff going on and I don't know how to use all the tools anymore. And sometimes that will cause me to be annoyed and I have to catch myself and pull back.
But it's realizing your strengths and being able to go and surrender sometimes. Realize that you need to step back and look into it or apologize.
It goes back to trying to find those win-win solutions. When we looked at all the components of the business, Jeff and I agree that Jeff would be really good at the ads piece. Not necessarily writing all the copy or doing the images, since we have people on our team who can do that.
But he can focus on his zone of genius and come up with a strategy for what we are doing, the angle to take, and working with our team to put it together and then monitoring it.
In order to make that happen though we need to figure out what we can take off of Jeff's plate.
Know your limitations to help with winning at business
It's really important to understand, and this is whether you're working together or not, what your limitations are. There are only so many hours in the day. You need to get lots of things done. But you need to realize that you don't have to do them all yourself. Your spouse doesn't have to do them either.
For instance, one of my limitations is that I have a very creative mind. I come up with all kinds of stories. And I'm very good at that, but I'm not a great writer. Part of that is my lack of attention to detail.
Grammarly has helped a lot with that. I'm a lot better writer because of Grammarly.
What to do when you disagree with your partner on decisions
This goes back to your zones of genius. For instance, if it's something that is operational, I try to let Jeff handle that. If it is something related to sales and marketing and where we're going with that, then that's my area.
Have a list of what each person is handling. You have to let that person handle it and remember that they're the ones working in that piece every single day. They probably have more information than you do.
Know your tendencies to help with winning at business
We've done Gretchen Rubin's four tendencies to find out what our tendencies are. I am a questioner and Jeff's an obliger.
For me, I have to understand why we're doing things. Jeff would just like to do it. So it's really good to know your types when you're working together.
And I have to check myself on this because if I go up to Jeff and ask him to do something he will drop everything to get this thing done. And I meant for it to be something that gets done in the future.
So our solution was to create a requests list for those future things. We have a board in Asana for this. I put in all my requests in there and then Jeff will go through the list and work on things.
You can build your request list in Trello, Asana, Click Up or whatever you're using. That is very helpful because it means less nagging.
If you write better than you type, just write it down and take a picture. Then send it to your EA and have them put it in Asana for you.
Another suggestion is to use this really cool tool that we just got called Brain Toss. What it allows you to do is voice, photo, or notes, and it will just email them to whatever address you want. So you could put this on your EA's email, or send it to your own email. When you do a voice text, it will transcribe it for you.
Having this type of system helps reduces friction. Because then I'm not having to constantly ask Jeff to do things. Or he's not asking me to do things. And having one place to put these tasks is so helpful.
Weekly Reviews to help with winning at business
Weekly reviews are so important. Go over what needs to get done each week. See what tasks are still pending and see how it all ties into your strategic goals.
It helps to talk about everything because sometimes the way one person sees the task is not how the other person envisioned it. Sometimes what they tell you they want isn't what they need. And what you hear isn't what they say or need. So the weekly review really helps make sure that what gets done is really what needs to happen.
Winning at Business
- Make sure you understand each other's strengths and try to work with those to the best of your ability.
- Outsource what is outside of your strengths.
- Have a system in place so that you can keep track of all the things that need to get done.
- Know who's zone of responsibility it is when you're making decisions.
- Stay in those zones of responsibility.
- Remove friction as much as you can.
- Do a weekly review.
- Share your calendar so you each can see what is on each others' plate for the week.