Three Easy Ways To Work “On” Your Business (Rather Than Only Working “In” It)

Posted by on July 17, 2008 in Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]

In doing research for my next book project, I posted a question to a group of entrepreneurs. The question? “What is the biggest challenge you face in your small business?”

To be frank, I thought I would receive a variety of responses ranging from employee issues to cost control. One challenge is coming out loud and clear:

I don’t have time to work on my business (including marketing and lead generation).

This only confirms what I share in my free e-course – entrepreneurs are wearing too many hats.

The entrepreneurs must take the time to work on their business – to ensure its future, support the current business, and make the team as strong as possible. How do they do that?

There are three easy ways to have more time to work on your business:

  1. Understand how you are spending your time. Keep detailed track of your weekly calendar – at least one week. At the end of the week, examine where there are opportunities to streamline your time. Examine the role you are taking in your business. Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited describes entrepreneurs as three people in one: An Entrepreneur, a Manager and a Technician. The majority of entrepreneurial overwhelm comes from a strong focus on task – the “thing” you did when you started the business (e.g. copywriter, plumber, attorney, technology consultant). If your daily focus is on tasks, it is nearly impossible to work on your business.
  2. Choose tasks to give up – and do it. Even if you are a solo-entrepreneur, there are tasks that can be assigned to a virtual assistant, freelancer, bookkeeper or a variety of other resources to free up your time. If you have a staff, take a serious look at how they are supporting your business. Are they being used to their greatest potential? Do you have the right people working for you? This exercise can open a bigger question – how is the structure of your business supporting you and your plans for the business? (This level of discovery can benefit from the help of a business coach)
  3. Plan your work and work your plan”. Now that you understand how you are spending your time and have “farmed out” tasks to internal or external resources, have a plan for that “new” time you’ve found. How will you generate new leads? What kind of marketing strategy do you want to implement? How about personal development – how can you work that into your plan to work on your business? Prioritize these activities and schedule them. “I’ll work it in” is the kiss of death – if you don’t commit to these actions (via a non-cancellable appointment with yourself), you know as well as I do that it won’t happen. You’ll find more “tasks” to fill the time.

What are some ways you can work on your business rather than in it? I’d love to hear from you.

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