Being an Entrepreneur comes with loads of work to be done, many hats to wear, tons of selling and always issues with people to take care of. Everything you need to do can be classified in to one of two categories: Working on your business or working in your business.
Working on your business is about spending time doing things that will help your business to grow and reach the goals you have for it. It’s about taking time to work on the vision and long term value of the business. When you are working on your business you are doing things like improving your employee compensation packages, hiring new employees, reviewing your marketing strategies, considering rebranding your company, looking at improvements to your location or move to a new location. You are spending time making sure your business looks good and is running well.
Working in your business is about doing the work that needs to be done each day so you can keep everything running. This is actually taking care of what you promised your customers. Making the product, fulfilling the service, handling sales calls or customer service requests, doing accounting, working on marketing, etc.
Working in your business tends to be easier because it is apparent what you need to do and how to do it. There are usually clear objectives or tasks that you need to perform to fulfill your obligation to your customer. Working on your business is a challenge because it really is harder work in the sense that you have to think better and keep pushing yourself so your business can grow. Many starting Entrepreneurs have a tendency to get stuck working in only one of these categories. Either you love the idea of being in business and want to spend your time growing your business rather than quality control of working in your business or you tend to love what you do so much that you see working on your business as taking you away from what you love. Now these aren’t absolutes, Of course, and the goal is to get good at doing both of them. That is where your business has the opportunity to really take off. May I recommend several tips to helping you solve this challenge:
Do not be afraid of getting your hands dirty
Making sure you are just as willing to do the grunt work to fulfill your customer agreements is key to success. A restaurant owner that isn’t willing to jump on the line and cook or grab a bus tub and clean tables is a bad sign of the kind of quality you can expect. Sometimes you need to work in your business to make sure things get done especially when customers flood in to work with you. If there is one thing we can learn from the tv show Undercover Boss is there is tremendous insight you can gain in to how your company can be better when you know what its like to be on the front lines. Never be afraid to jump in and get work done.
Take time to step back and manage the entire picture
Many people get in to business because they are passionate about doing something and believe they can do it better than their employer so they strike it out on their own. As their passion comes through in their work and more customers show up to do business with them they end up having a challenge getting the work done and making sure the business is taken care of. This is a common time when you start hiring employees to do the work so you can run the business. Before long you aren’t doing the work anymore and just spending time working on the business and wishing you were still doing what you love. It is important to set aside time to work on and in your business. The amount of time you spend tends to change periodically yet make sure you are doing both.
A growing business means the need for more systems. Systems are a great way to make sure the work is consistent and accurate while making sure you can handle the volume of work you have. Systems can help you know when you need to spend more time in certain areas of your business by alerting you to changes or issues quickly. A good example is using software to manage your accounting and alert you if your accounts reach a low level or help you track your sales and marketing to make sure you can keep enough business coming in the front door. Automating things in your business can help you get more done and allow you to focus on the key things that need to be done now.
Always be willing to learn and grow as an Entrepreneur
The more you are willing to push yourself and grow your skills as an entrepreneur the easier it is to keep your business growing. Take time to understand things like accounting, employee management, marketing/branding, customer relationship management, etc. The best advice most Entrepreneurs got from the late Steven R. Covey is that taking time to “sharpen your saw” is vital to success. Businesses tend to have lots of moving parts and many things can go wrong yet if you keep yourself moving forward in your own skills you will be prepared to find the issues and resolve them before they become an issue. Keeping your ship in top condition is just as important as the cargo you are carrying.
Use KPI’s and metrics
Making sure you can keep track of the key parts of your business is very important in helping you allocate your time and energies to the things that need to be done for your businesses success. For every part of your business you want to figure out what are the key parts I need to track to know if the company is doing well or a problem is starting to form. For instance, take time to map out your customer experience and find where are the main points that will tell us what your customers think. This can not only help you with customer feedback but can tell you where potential leaks are in your sales process. Once you have your metrics in place you need to review them regularly to help you know where you should focus your attention.
Working on your business and working in your business can seem a daunting task yet when done properly can allow your business to reach new heights and opportunities for your success!