(Image from stock.xchng)
We often get this question from business owners. They are confused and even frustrated.
They’ve heard someone somewhere say, “You should work on your business, not in it.”
It’s a catchy phrase, popularized by Michael Gerber in The E-Myth. It sounds simple enough. And it is, on the surface.
But once you really try to process it, you just don’t get it.
How can you find the time to work on your business? You don’t need one more thing on your to-do list. There aren’t enough hours in the day already.
You’re busy with important things like serving customers, managing the workflow and even just getting the work done. After all, somebody has to work in the business!
You fear what will happen if you’re not involved first-hand. Yes, fear is the underlying issue for most entrepreneurs facing this question.
The problem with control
If you’re like most business owners, you want to be in control. In fact, it’s a driving force for many of us in starting our businesses.
However, there’s a trap you need to be aware of. It’s easy to end up in it. Here it is:
By trying to maintain full control of your business,
you may lose control of your life!
When this happens, you don’t control your business any longer. Your business controls you.
You work for your business but it doesn’t work for you.
People often associate freedom with business ownership. However, in the situation we’re discussing, it can feel more like a prison. We know – we’ve been there!
You feel trapped. The work just keeps coming. There just never seems to be enough time or money to escape.
So you press on. You get increasingly tired. Eventually you burn out.
That’s the problem with trying to maintain full control – you wind up sick and tired of the business that once brought you so much joy!
So what can you do about it?
The starting point
We won’t mince words – it’s not easy. However, there is a simple solution.
It’s not an obvious solution, until you hear it. Many business owners completely miss it. They just never think of it.
Here’s the secret:
You start working on your business by working in your business!
And hey, you’re already doing that every day! The smaller you are, the better. The earlier it is in the history of your business, the better.
But you can start right where you are. Here’s how to do it:
- Create your Organizational Chart
You may be the only employee of your business. Maybe you have one or more partners. You may already have employees.
It doesn’t matter. Show all the roles required to conduct your business – from the front line to the executive suite.
Now, this can be a little counterintuitive – especially if you’re doing it all. But think about all the different hats you wear.
At times, you’re the CEO. At others, you may be the janitor. Think about the roles you’re playing throughout the day. Who will do this in the future?
- Document day-to-day activities
Sure, this will take a little time. However, it’s an investment in your future. It creates the foundation on which you build your whole business.
You don’t have to do it all at once. Set goals for yourself. You may only document one task a day. Even one a week will get you ahead over time.
- Segment tasks by position
As you get each task outlined, think about which position in your firm is (or will be) responsible for it. Once you have all the tasks divided up, you have created the guts of a manual for each position.
You begin building a business of real value with this simple, three-step process. The less your business depends on you, the more it’s worth!
And when you control your business instead of letting it control you, you can enjoy the freedom that should come with owning a business! That’s BIGG success!
What suggestions do you have to work on your business, instead of just in it?