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How To Work 'On', Not Just 'In', Your Business?

It is very difficult as a business owner to fulfil all your roles in the business. You may find that you are always working on the day to day of the business and you have very little time to step back and consider the future. However if you want your business to grow and prosper you need to work 'on' your business, as well as 'in' your business, including working on business goals, strategy, business development, planning, sales and marketing, managing the business and the financial side. This is one of the most challenging areas for business owners to resolve.

So if you are caught up in the day to day, what can you do about it? Here are some ideas to help you:

Decide on where you want your business to be in the short and longer term. Where do you want your business to be in the next month, 3 months, 6 months, year and longer term? Identifying where you want to be will give you a clear vision for moving forward and understanding what you need to change.

Understand what you need to do to achieve your business goals. To achieve what you want to, what do you need to do differently in the business? You may need to spend more time marketing the business or look at your pricing structure to increase your profitability. Understanding the next steps will help you look at where you need to focus your time.

Identify what you are spending your time doing each day. What do you spend your time doing each day? You may be working very long hours, but where is your time going? It is critical to moving forward to understand what you are currently doing.

Look at delegating some of your tasks or outsourcing them. What things are you currently doing that could be delegated or outsourced? These may be tasks that you don't want to do anymore or ones that are not in your area of expertise that someone else could do better.

Review the staffing of your business. What changes do you need to make in the staffing of your business? Maybe you need additional staff or a staff member to work additional hours or at a different time of day.

Focus on productivity and improving efficiency. What improvements can you make to the productivity and efficiency of you, your team and your systems and processes? Businesses often find that they can save time by making changes to their systems and processes and who does what.

Reduce your agenda to the key things for achieving your business goals. What are you doing that doesn't need doing or that is not taking you towards where you want your business to be? It is very easy to procrastinate, get distracted and to do things just because they have always been done. Keeping focused on your business goals will help you to change your current focus.

Set aside regular time each week to step back from the day to day. When are you going to step back from the day to day and focus on the future of your business? Setting aside regular time to step back from the day to day will pay dividends for your business.

Understand the implications of whatever actions you decide to take. What are the implications of the actions you have decided to take? It is important to fully understand the financial and other implications of you stepping back from the day to day, both positive and negative e.g. employing an additional member of staff may cost more in the short term but may enable your business to grow significantly more in the longer term.

Consider getting some outside help. What help do you need in working 'on' not in your business? You may want to consider using a business mentor to support you in stepping back or you may want to use an expert in a particular area e.g. marketing to advise you on the best way forward.

I hope the above have given you some ideas as to how you may be able to change your role and to enable you to spend more time working 'on', not just 'in' your business.

Author: Liz Makin
Published: October 2010

Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including communication, resilience, time management, stress management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.


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