Have you ever heard the phrase working ON your business is as important as working IN your business?
When you run your own business, especially when you are new to being a sole trader or owning your own small business it can be tempting to (or perhaps you think you have to) do everything yourself. But spending all your time concentrating on the minute details of the day to day business leaves little time for anything else. As a business owner trying to do everything yourself also risks burnout and disillusionment with the concept of being a small business owner. And a business whose owner is not looking at the bigger picture and thinking of the future is a business that will quickly get stale and stagnate.
Many business owners who start off as sole traders and then expand their business make the mistake of still being too involved even once the business as five, 10 or even more employees.
So instead of working IN your business all the time, you need to make sure you make time for working ON it.
Why work on your business?
Working on your business is the only way to ensure your business is in a position to grow. When you spend time working on your business you are looking at things like:
- What is your target market and are you hitting your customers needs
- What new products or services could you develop to expand your customer base
- Are you meeting your core services and values
- What marketing strategies can you try to attract new business
- Where do you need to invest in your business to help it in the future
This also helps to set your business up should you decide to sell it on or retire, or want to hand it over to someone else to run on your behalf. Or even just take a long holiday!
How to tell if you are working in your business too much
- still do all your paperwork yourself even if you don’t need to and don’t enjoy it?
- still micromanage processes in your business such as production or sales?
- have to give employees verbal instructions all the time because you don’t have processes in place?
If you are doing any of these things you might be focusing too much on the day to day and not enough on the bigger picture.
Some ways you can make more time for working on your business
Hire people – If you can get someone to do your paperwork, manage your invoices or deal with your customers. You can also add to your team that actually carries out the work. Hire carefully so you are sure they will fit with your ethics and style and meet standards.
Outsource – if you don’t want to hire a permanent staff member or you are a sole trader think about outsourcing. You can find virtual assistants to help with paperwork or hire an accountant to help you with tax time.
Write things down – if you have processes in place for parts of your business make sure they are documented. That way instead of having to ask you all the time, employees have a point of reference.
Train others – once you’ve got your procedures in place and written down, make sure you give your staff adequate training. By training them on how to handle products or complete services you’ll also give yourself peace of mind that your standards are being met.
That’s not to say you have to give up things entirely. Say you run a real estate business and you actually enjoy the sales process – you don’t have to give up selling entirely but maybe limit the number of listings you take on each month so you can also work on other areas.
But it will give you more time to focus on the bigger picture and make some plans for your business. You might also find time for networking which can help develop contacts and give you somewhere to discuss business ideas. And lastly, it will leave you time to relax a little and make time for your family or outside interests.