Working in and on your business
A common trap a business owner can fall into is becoming totally entrenched in the business. Working in and on your business are two different things, and keeping them separate is important.
I became a slave to my businesses success; a jack of all trades… expert in everything, running from pillar to post keeping all plates spinning. This became an exhausting habit and then there was no time or scope to develop the business or myself.
My starting point was to review my exact use of time, I then made a note of everything I did and how long it took me.
Next I categorised my activities into working on the business and in it, this quickly revealed how I currently operated, what I could delegate and what actual activity
I did that adds value. Below I have outlined my key strategies I use to grow my business.
Stay an Entrepreneur
The smart entrepreneur stays an entrepreneur by identifying exactly the right amount of time to spend on and in the business. However tempting it becomes to think I could do that better myself or I want to get close to the detail, the smart Entrepreneur only do this when it is really required rather than just because they want to.
If you haven’t got a team it is vital that you work on the business; work out exactly the minimum amount of time you need to work in the business and make the commitment to spend the rest of the time developing it.
This can be challenging to maintain and may mean you need to dip in and out of business development activity to match the trend of your workload. This is fine as long as you are still adding value to your business rather than just aiming to be billable.
Productive little habits can make all the difference such as contacting 3 people in your network each day to keep them close to what you can offer.
Focus on your big rocks
Wake up every day with the mindset of I am going to add value to my business today and go and do exactly that! Open your strategic thinking and stay focused on developing your big rocks at every opportunity by asking yourself the following 10 magic questions:
- What is the business purpose and does everyone know it?
- Do you have people performance measures in place to make the business purpose happen?
- What exactly is our product or service?
- Who are your customers/potential customers and are they happy?
- What makes us unique and better than the competition?
- What are our major costs and strategic business challenges?
- Do you have robust employees, systems , tools and processes to support your business goals?
- How can we maintain standards and whats the best way to train, coach and mentor our people?
- How are we measuring your marketing and is it creating lead generation?
- How can we enhance the above to eliminate risks, threats and leverage our core competencies to grow our success?
Hire well and delegate
Always be on the lookout for super talent. These are individuals that bring the right skills, knowledge and attitudes to your business.
When taking the first step of hiring someone or developing a working relationship with them, we would suggest you recruit someone to do the work you do or become your sales engine so you can replicate what you offer or grow what you offer.
Design a system that ensures your team are aware of their levels of authority so they feel empowered to make decisions.
Delegation can take a while to master. Early mistakes I experienced was expecting people to read my mind, micromanaging, under estimating peoples abilities or how long tasks actually take to fully complete. To enhance the way I delegate I began to regularly remind and update staff on key priorities and always explain why a goal post has moved.
I also suggest you clarify your expectations in terms of time and effort; be patient and there to support your people so they can grow and learn. Decide who to delegate to by creating a matrix of skills and tasks people can do and think about who could train others.
Always define a task you would like completed, explain it and state the desired outcome, agree deadlines and support as and when required. Take a win and learn approach when providing feedback so that your employees feel confident even if they haven’t got things right first time.
In these modern times you don’t need to actually recruit somebody in order to delegate tasks. Websites such as UPwork and Fiverr offer you the opportunity to outsource any work for a competitive fee. The reason these sites can be so competitive is because people of differing skills and monetary needs can bid on your work. For example, a student graphic designer from Rio is going to create a website banner cheaper than your Graphic Design agency from Brighton.
Personal benefits of staying an entrepreneur
When working hard its important to remember to enjoy it! As well as focusing on those big rocks, spend your time making money by building new customer relationships. Manage your own growth and development and take care of yourself by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Always take time off and have a holiday!
High & wise