"You have to see the pattern, understand the order and experience the vision." ~ Michael Gerber
Yes, I know. The title of this article may sound confusing, so let me clearly state what the difference is between working 'in' your business versus working 'on' it.
Working 'in' your business means that you're handling everything all by yourself: all the accounting, sales generation, product/service development, website maintenance, writing, running errands and making coffee. In short, you think you're Wonder Woman, flying around wearing your bright red cape while searching for that 25th hour in the day.
Working 'on' your business means that you're in charge of making sure that you actually have a business to run! You have a clear vision of where you want your business to go and spend your time developing new strategies to get there. You aren't afraid to delegate or hire additional personnel to help you achieve your goals as you know your own strengths (and weaknesses!), and focus your attention on growing your company.
Let me give you a clear cut example. I am not a numbers person and as such do not like accounting. That does not mean that I didn't know what was going on in my business because I did, I just didn't like the detail stuff. I decided early on in that this was one area which I wasn't going to waste my time working on. Since it took me three times as long to get my month-end accounting and paperwork done as it did an accountant, I knew my dollars and time would be better spent hiring someone else to perform this function in my business. By contracting this function out, I spared myself from making 2 very costly mistakes: 1) I could now schedule my time to work 'on' my business by developing new programs, and 2) I avoided spending hours doing my accounting and kicked my procrastination on completing this task to the curb.
When you are starting out in a business or a new position of leadership, you do the little things because you have to. At some point, (and sooner than later I hope), you wake up and realize that your actions are costing you money, clients, and growth in your business. If you have been working 'in' your business and not focusing 'on' your business, you will wake up 'out of business.'
Here are 3 strategic steps that will totally shift your business model for the better, make the most of your time, and keep you focused on your big picture.
1. Take a hard look at where you are spending your time. For example, how many networking events do you attend a week? Being involved in your community is one thing, but joining every organization for the sake of exposure is a whole different ball game. Here are some questions that will help you quantify your involvement. Are you strategically connecting for your business or are you just chit chatting? Are you committed to participating in this organization or are you just showing up? Can you quantify a Return On your Investment (ROI)? If not, you may want to rethink your perception of networking.
2. Set business development hours/days. I set aside one day of the week for business development. This is the time that I am planning, working on projects/articles, developing new products, scheduling workshops, or contacting potential clients. The whole day is spent in my office. I don't schedule any appointments outside my office. I'm a woman on a mission.
3. Set hours/days for outside appointments/meeting with clients or networking. This is huge. You can't concentrate on your work if you are interrupting the flow of your day. In other words, it's real hard to stop the flow of energy and re-start it later.
Keep in mind we all get the same amount of hours in a day. No more, no less. You can work harder or you can work smarter - the choice is yours. The object of the game is to create long term sustainable foundations and results that are in accordance with your vision, values, and purpose of your business. And that, my friends equals success.