Working ON Your Business
You might have heard this or a similar expression before: “I wish I was able to spend more time working ON my business instead of IN my business.”
That phrase, in one form or another, has been rolling around out there for a long time. While it can be interpreted a little differently, the basic meaning is this: As a business owner, you should be spending more time on the “big picture” and less time on the “day-to-day.” And all the clichés such as,“You should be doing more delegation and less micromanaging” and “work smarter, not harder.” Lots of happy place stuff like that.
But what if you are a smaller organization or even a business of one?
There are a number of strategies you can employ to meet this challenge. Here are some of the more basic approaches.
First, you can and should look to delegate activities that you aren’t particularly good at or passionate about. For me it was doing the books. I hated it and wasn’t good at it. Finally, after years of stepping outside my comfort zone I stepped up and delegated that critical task.
In this specific example, I was able to delegate to an employee who had both capability and capacity to take on that task. But you can also outsource tasks if you don’t have anyone else available and with the skills to match the need.
Maybe that task you thought you just had to do doesn’t have to be done right now. If, after prioritizing your list, it is a task that can wait, sometimes putting it on the back burner makes a lot of sense. But be careful not to take it completely off the stove. It is common for “out of sight” to become “out of mind.” In this case it’s not “never” —it’s just not now.
Being a serial entrepreneur, I am constantly coming up with new business ideas. Some are related to what I do today, some are relative to what I used to do, and some would be a complete departure for anything I’ve ever done. To try and stay focused, I keep a little black book of these ideas and allow myself time to capture each one fully before closing the book and getting back to my core business. Not “never,” but not now.
There are some things that you really should set free by pitching them out the window. If not, these things tend to set up camp in your grey matter, occupying precious real estate you need for other more important items. They are often “clingy” and hard to get rid of, so when you identify something that needs to go, focus on separating from that task until it’s gone gone.
Here’s a personal example. I belong to several mastermind groups. They are all very good but there are only two that I seem to be spending time in. I have maintained and renewed my membership to all of them while continuing to only actively use a couple of them. But the information is good, right? And I only pay once a year and it’s affordable. So what’s the problem?
There are a couple of problems here. First, I could be spending that money on lots of more productive things that are relative to what I am doing right now like attracting new clients or building new technology. And second, continuing to renew my membership in these groups requires mental and emotional capital that, frankly, I can’t spare these days.
Is There Another Option
So those are three of the more basic approaches to handling a task that isn’t in your sweet spot. Delegate to someone else, defer it to another time, or delete it all together. After running tasks through those filters, there can still be a lot left over that falls to your plate. So what can you do about that?
The answer is to actually create more time for those important tasks
It doesn’t involve a time machine, but it does require you to think a little differently. One thing that I focus diligently on with each of the Trainers, Authors, and Speakers I work with is the concept of creating leverage in their business.
Looking closely at the products and services they offer today and identifying ways to leverage that content in new ways. Because at their core, high-leverage products and services require less of your time and generate more high-margin revenue than their lower-leverage counterparts.
Just think of the things you can do with that extra time and money to grow your business.