One of the hottest topics lately:
Are you working on your business or are you working in your business?
It’s a legit question, but the other question it raises is “how do you make time to work on your business?”
It’s easy to get bogged down with the “needs to be done” inside of your business instead of working on what will catapult your business to the next level.
Once you’re able to act as the Business Owner consistently, your business will take leaps & bounds forward. You are no longer stuck working IN the business putting out fires, you’re dedicating all your time to working ON the agendas that will accelerate growth.
Here’s a few tips to help you work on rather than in the business so you can move past that point…
Have a Business Plan
Not a 40-page dinosaur that is buried deep in your desk. Work with a short, dynamic document that is updated and referenced regularly.
It should include, at a minimum:
Your Mission Statement (the why behind your ultimate goal)
Objectives, or your One-Year Goals
Strategies to be Consistently Repeated
Action Plans, or your Short-Term (1 week to 2 month) Goals leading to Long-Term Goals.
Build a one page business plan, and have it somewhere that makes it easy for you to see it every day. This makes it easier to remember the overarching scheme of your business and gives you motivation to work on those little things that will catapult your business to the next level. It keeps your eyes on the future instead of where you are today.
Think about the goals like this: your short term goals should lead to your one-year goals which lead to your long-term goals which fulfill your mission statement.
Use Project Management Software
We all have projects in various stages in our business. Product launches, benefit revisions, SOP development, etc.
If you have multiple projects, use whatever software you’d like to carefully track & plan each separate project.
Set up one board or section for each project, then list out small steps you can knock out in single (or very few) sittings (E. G., if you’re working on a new website, one step could be to review and complete the graphics for the new website).
Then use this software to set timelines and due-dates for yourself to keep things on track. If your goal is to have the new website up next month, setting timelines helps you make sure you meet your deadlines. Most importantly, assign work to other people on your team. You should not be doing this all yourself.
The challenge is that software like this is often forgotten and ignored. To make this effective, keep a tab of that software up at all times to keep you focused. If you shut down your computer at night, make sure that the software is among the items that auto-loads the next morning so you don’t have to remember to pull it up.
Along with this, keep the software updated and move things around in order to be sure everything gets done. Even if you don’t get things done on time, move the item out to your next timeline block so that you meet your ultimate deadlines and get it all finished.
Even if you just set up a once-a-week reminder to go into the software and update due dates, check off completed items and move out pending items, it will keep it front of mind.
Block Time on Your Calendar
It’s a good idea to do this for everything from appointments to specific little tasks.
I’ve experimented with blocking out a chunk of time to work “On The Business” and I’ve found that a million little things pop up. Urgent little monsters who need to be done now. So instead of spending 2 hours on the business, I get 45 minutes, maybe.
If I have a 15 minutes block of time to work on “Approve Swag Bag Items” and another one to “Review Website Graphics” etc, it’s much harder for me to rationalize moving them all.
If you approximate and plan out time for specific tasks, you know that you’re supposed to be spending X amount of time at Y time of day to get this task done. That makes it harder to justify moving around that time that’s been devoted to some project working on the business.
Run the energy advantage exercise
This exercise is super simple.
Get a clipboard or a notepad and start keeping it with you.
Jot down everything that you do and how much time you spend on it -- dishes, cleaning, cooking, replying to emails, graphic design, assigning things to specific members of your team, everything. Be super specific at this point.
After about a week, start lumping things into categories -- housework, assignments for my team, sales calls, setting appointments, etc.
Finally, you’re going to start ranking everything on this system of 1-4:
Gives you energy, gets you excited, and creates revenue.
Gives you energy, gets you excited, but doesn’t necessarily create revenue (Like your hobbies. For me, it’s things like painting and playing the violin).
Brings you revenue, but not energy. (Like running a card or following up on bill collection.)
Doesn’t bring you either revenue or energy.
This is a good exercise to do once per quarter, because it gives you a realistic look at what you’re spending your time on.
Outsource non-essential items
This is imperative if you’re going to grow your business.
If you’ve done the Energy Advantage Exercise, take everything that is a 3 or a 4 and get 98% of it off your plate. Give it to a team member or outsource it to a VA, even consider whether or not it is something that needs to be done at all. Whatever you do, work to remove yourself from being responsible for it.
One quick caveat to this:
Make time to manage your team.
If you have a team or are outsourcing stuff to other people, make time in your calendar to manage them. Do things like checking in with them on their due dates and making sure they have everything explained to them for their jobs. Not only does this help you to keep from running the business on your own, but it helps keep you connected and builds relationships with your team that fuel the business in the long-term.
These things may not be the only way to help you work on your business rather than just in it, but they have certainly helped me and I hope they help you!
One great way to take time out to work on your business is to attend a great retreat or conference. If you’re looking for one to attend, I suggest you check out the Grow Retreat. The Grow Retreat is the biggest event of the year for us! We just finished up Grow2020, but registration for Grow2021 is open! Book your interview for this phenomenal event here! (Yup, we're aware this link goes to the website for Grow2020. Don't worry, you can still book an interview and check out what this year's retreat was like!)
About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt: a San Antonio based company dedicated to disrupting the way the world does business through training. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with nearly 2500 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!