This series is the brain-child of Stephanie, and was sparked when she was reading the “Dear Heloise” column regarding weddings: if a one-time event like a wedding has a whole advice column, why shouldn’t the daily grind that is running a business have one?
“Ask Steph” is the article series where business owners can go to get answers for their real-life questions from an award-winning entrepreneur, business developer, and business coach, without the $2,000 consultation fee!
“Steph, I know that I need to be working on my business.
But the problem is, every single time I get to the end of the week I haven’t gotten around to any of the things I know I need to do. How do you balance working on your business verses taking care of the fires that pop up every single day?”
- Kitya A.
Hey, Kitya. First off, don’t feel too bad about this! It’s a challenge that every entrepreneur feels, and one that I struggle with too.
We sit down to work with grand ideas of creating SOPs, working through books, applying strategies, working on exercises, etc. And by 8 AM, our inboxes are full with emails from 6 clients having trouble and other in-business fires that must be put out today.
It took me a long time to figure out how to handle this, but here are the strategies I use to work on my business…
First, recognize it’s a muscle.
Think back to the first time you went to the gym. It was painful, and it took a lot of work to build up those muscles. But once you got there, it was easier to do and you could begin to improve your workouts.
It’s the same thing with working on your business.
The more you work on the business, the easier it gets to work on the business. Partially because the business begins running more smoothly. But that only happens when you start working ON the business as opposed to IN the business.
The key is to prioritize it.
Just like you have to create accountability and prioritize going to the gym to develop physical muscles, you have to prioritize and create accountability to develop working on the business. Start working on it every week, even if it’s only 15 minutes a week at first. Because if you keep adding 15 minutes to it, you’ll hit an hour a week by week 4. The small steps create the habits.
But creating accountability is the most seemingly impossible part for any business owner, so here are my strategies for creating accountability.
1: Go on Business Retreats, and Spend Money on Them
Going on retreats helps you get out of the office, to a place where you’re just focusing on working on the business. But spending a good chunk of money on the retreat is the accountability. When you spend a lot of money on a retreat, you know you need to get a full return on the investment. Which means you’re more likely to go and really focus on what you need to instead of letting business fires distract you.
I did this October 2019. Booked a first class ticket to a city I really wanted to visit, for an event that wasn’t cheap. Because I had chunk of money invested, there wasn’t likely to be a more expensive fire that would pop up to distract me!
This is a great way to create accountability quarterly (or yearly, depending on your funds). Get away and have a huge sit-down to work on the business.
2: Have Regular Coaching and Mastermind Sessions
These are other things that I pay for. But I’ve discovered that once they are regularly on my calendar (E. G., every 3rd Wednesday for coaching), I plan around it. If it is on my calendar on a regular basis and I’m paying for it, I make time to schedule around it. Especially since I now have to take into account that other people have it on their schedules and are expecting me.
3: Get Around People who are Growing
As humans, we become the average of the five people we spend the most time around. So if you want to work on and grow your business, find and spend time with people who are doing the same thing. You’ll eventually grow to be more like them.