There are many definitions of working smart as opposed to working hard, and they embrace solutions such as work delegation, simplification of a task, rejecting extra work and learning to say no - even taking vacations and break times.
There is also a serious school of thought that says, whether you work smart or you work hard the end result is that you will have to contribute long hours and hard work to ultimately be successful in any venture.
In the world of technology in which we live, we would refute the long hours and hard work definition because we think there are alternatives that are viable and smart.
Historically, it was a fact that to grow in a job you would have to work long hours - in other words, hours over and above the prescribed 9 to 5 regime. As an employee, you would follow policy and do what was needed of you regardless of the time available. In due course, promotion would come and you would be rewarded perhaps with a greater salary, but certainly more responsibilities and more work. The ‘more work’ part would naturally turn into even longer hours than you were working initially. This begs the question as to whether promotion is really a benefit or not?
There has, however, been a quantum shift in job security over recent years, and no longer is a job a job for life. Typically, individuals now will experience multiple job changes over the course of their working career. Those opportunities may require extensive relocation and family upheaval as an individual climbs the employment ladder. While a job is still the primary conduit to creating income, many individuals are now taking a serious look at the alternatives.
One of the areas for exploration is the opportunity to become self-employed and start your own business. On the face of it this is an extremely attractive option, as you become ‘the boss’ and you are in charge. In retrospect, this may not be the best option as it is quite often the boss in a startup situation who works the longest hours, being the first employee to arrive in the morning and the last one to leave at the end of the day. Starting a business is also often fraught with headaches and stress at the outset of the business.
If a startup is not viable, then maybe the purchase of an existing business is a better alternative - as you will still be ‘the boss’ without the stress of getting things started. However, that could in itself still lead to those long hours resurfacing as you, the new owner, immerse yourself in the new business and the learning curve associated with it.
The franchise alternative may well represent a more realistic model in terms of the transition from employment to self-employment, or entrepreneurship. In a franchise environment the planning and startup has all been done by the franchisor, the history has been created, and established routines have been determined - from day one you are working with a tried, tested and proven model.
Notwithstanding the franchise model might be a good alternative, it should also be remembered that some franchises also represent a ‘job’ in a different format. Some will certainly require long hours and personal input in order to launch and grow the business.
There are, however, some franchises that we believe offer a true ‘work-smart’ alternative to a work-hard and long-hours situation. The Interface Financial Group is a financial service franchise that has been in existence for several decades. The company has created a 45-year history for their franchisees and has, needless to say, created that tried, tested and proven format.
The thing that sets them apart in terms of the ‘work-smart’ aspect is the fact that they have blended people with technology to achieve a solid mix. There are very few ‘jobs’, whether they are in regular employment or self-employment, that do not require an immense amount of paperwork to make the process happen - paperwork that invariably has to be completed by ‘the boss’. With The Interface Financial Group franchise, a paperless franchise has been created, enabling franchisees to concentrate their efforts on the people and relationship-part of running a business. This, in turn, results in eliminating the long and unsocial hours and the stress factor of running your own business.
Embracing technology has certainly created a true ‘work smart’ environment for The Interface Financial Group franchisees.