work on your business

No One Said It Was Easy To Work On Your Business

If You Want To Beat Your Competition…Do This!

The biggest challenges we face initially working with clients, is getting them to recognize the importance of putting time aside to “work on your business”. You might sound a bit strange, because you would think they were coming to us to do exactly that…work on their business. Reality is, that while they want to do this and know they should, the struggle they face is they don’t know “how” or even what it means to do so.

Recently, we had two partners say, “We thought working on the business for a day a month was going to be impossible and boring, until we started seeing the results!”. This one statement says it all. Initially, it sounds impossible, but based on our experience when business owners commit to it, they also get great results.

To start, lets get clear on what it means to work “in” versus “on”. We like to think about it this way, “in” is when you are doing the work of the business and “on” is when you are doing the mental work of you.

“in” is when you are doing the work of the business and “on” is when you are doing the mental work of you.

In our book, It Is What It Is, Or Is It…All About Business, we discuss how a business is a reflection of the thinking of the business owner or leader. If you want to change or grow your business, you are going to have to expand and challenge your own thoughts and ideas about the business itself and the industry or environment you are competing in. Taking the time to get out of your business and learn something new is critical in being able to thrive in business.

Below is a chart that outlines the difference between the two. How much time do you spend on each side?

Working “In” Your BusinessWorking “On” Your Business
Answering emails and phone callsAttending a webinar / conference
Interacting with clients or customersActively listening to a business related podcast
Doing paperwork or processing financial informationSetting strategic plans / goals
Dealing with employee mattersMeeting with mentors / advisors
Picking up / delivering supplies or ordersNetworking with other business owners
Organizing and cleaning (offices, store fronts, vehicles, etc.)Following up on Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and setting targets

If you find you are spending less that 15 – 20% of your time on the right side, you might want to look at how to make it possible. Here are three obstacles many face and an approach you might use to overcome them:

  1. Delegate – I know you have heard this one before, but it is time to seriously do it. Delegation takes two things…time and trust. It take time on your part to help train and explain what you need and with the time you invest, you will build trust in the person or company you are delegating to. Don’t expect the minute you delegate something it will be perfect, and don’t use this as the reason not to. The sooner you delegate, the easier it will be to grow. Consider outsourcing if you don’t have employees. Yes, it might cost you, but it is already costing you the way you are doing it.
  2. Goals – Set some challenging goals around your business that are going to require you to get clear and out of your comfort zone. We both know that working “in” your business is comfortable. Chances are you already know how to do most of the things in your business and do them better than everyone else. It is time to push yourself out of it. Set a goal to go sit on a board or attend x amount of networking events or to engage a business mentor / advisor or to attend a conference. More importantly, do whatever it takes to fulfill it. I will guarantee you will be glad you did.
  3. Question Your Assumptions – Believe it or not, you may not be right. There is a saying, “if you are the smartest person in the room, then maybe it is time to change rooms.” When you are too familiar with something you lose perspective. There could be better ways of doing some of the things that are currently happening in the business. Reach out to experts in the various fields to tap into what they are doing. Be open to new ideas and concepts.

Initially it is uncomfortable to stop doing the “busy” stuff, but working on your business, will ultimately save you money and time in the long run. Your first step is to get into your calendar and schedule in the time…do it now!

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