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Why It’s Time to Ditch the Daily Grind – Start Working ON Your Business, Not IN It!

Published Sep 21, 2023

Roughly how much time do you think you dedicate to the day-to-day tasks of running your company?

Go ahead, take a moment to consider your answer.

Now, how much time do you think you dedicate to working ON the business?

You’re probably familiar with the concept of ‘working ON the business’ rather than “IN the business.” This proactive concept has been part of business mentorship discussions for more than 35 years, basically when Michael Gerber introduced it in his book, ‘The E-Myth Revisited.” Since then, this shift in focus from being reactive to becoming proactive has become a cornerstone for entrepreneurs and business owners looking for ways to improve their operations and scale company growth.

No doubt, managing a business involves a wide range of tasks that demand your attention every single day – it’s easy to get carried away. From overseeing finances, supervising employees, and staying on top of marketing efforts to fostering a positive company culture, handling customer inquiries, and putting out fires (let’s be honest, those fires can suck all of the oxygen from a room); entrepreneurs often find themselves wearing too many hats at the same time.

All that daily grind leaves little time for the good stuff, like strategic planning, improving overall operations, and exploring growth opportunities. If the good stuff is so valuable, why do we push it off to the back burner? You’re likely stuck.

And you’re stuck in the loop of doom for several reasons:

  • Lack of Training: Benjamin Franklin’s quote has it exactly right, “Failing To Prepare Is Preparing To Fail.” If you have not made adequate preparations for onboarding or fail to provide ongoing training for your team, you are likely to get stuck doing (or more likely redoing) everyone else’s job.
  • Role Ambiguity: Who’s responsible for what, again? A lack of clear job descriptions can lead to employees experiencing turf war or playing the blame game. Organizational chaos can create conflicts over task ownership and makes it way too easy for employees to shift blame onto others when things go wrong.
  • Lack of Delegation: If you’re not delegating tasks, you’re denying team members the opportunity to contribute and grow within their roles. Let’s be honest, your expertise and time are better used on projects that truly require your skill set. Routine tasks, on the other hand, can be handled by the team members who are hired to do just those things. Without delegation, you are more likely to slip into micromanagement….which leads us to number four.
  • Micromanagement & Dependency: We get it, your business is your baby, but not granting team members autonomy can lead to them becoming overly dependent on you as the decision maker. Constant availability not only hinders their skills development, but also consumes an immense amount of your time, pulling you deeper into the time warp that is operational intricacies.
  • Unorganized Operations & Undefined Standards: Unorganized anything is a recipe for disaster. Consistently finding yourself in reactive mode, fueled by a lack of structure and unclear milestones or KPIs, leaves employees uncertain about their roles and objectives, leading to reduced motivation and productivity. Establishing a well-documented SOP, updated regularly, along with setting clear performance standards, is crucial to avoid owner overload and ensure proactive, efficient operations.
  • Isolation: Staying in your safe little business bubble can limit your perspective, causing you to miss out on potential growth opportunities. Get out and network with industry peers and potential clients or set up a strategic meeting with like-minded business owners to exchange valuable insights and stay accountable. Additionally, you could attend our free two-day bootcamp session where you’ll gain valuable insights and reignight your passion for business.
  • Overload: The difference between being busy and being productive? Working ON the business moves you forward; working IN it keeps you stuck. Sometimes it just feels easier to keep doing things the way you’ve always done them. But, if you’re stuck doing it all, all the time, it’s not a matter of if – but when – you will experience burnout.
  • Perfection Paralysis: You have big goals, but don’t know where to start. Maybe you’re even feeling overwhelmed just by the thought of it. Does paralysis by analysis – a “failure to react in response to overthought” sound all too familiar? The problem is that it can lead to inaction where you find yourself caught in an endless loop of contemplating without completion.

It’s clear to see just how easy it can be to get caught working in the business.

But it just doesn’t have to be that way.

Working on it, not just in it, can change everything.

Set Yourself Up to Break Free

Let’s get back to the original question: How much time do you dedicate to the day-to-day tasks of running your company? It’s eye-opening to realize that, on average, business owners only spend 32% of their time working ON the business. While day-to-day tasks are undeniably important, investing more time in working ON the business can yield significant growth opportunities.

The secret to entrepreneurial success (which is no secret at all) is ditching the routine and working ON your business. Most entrepreneurs and business owners do not spend enough time consistently “working on their business.” Not only that, many CEOs don’t even know what that really looks like.

Put simply:
Working IN the business = stagnation, exhaustion, frustration.
Working ON the business = innovation, growth, success.

Here are 10 ways to set yourself up for success…so you have more time to work ON the business for innovation, growth, and success:

  • Create Comprehensive Training: Constantly fixing errors (that could have been done correctly in the first place) can consume a significant amount of time and energy that could be better invested in driving the business forward. Take the time to establish efficient onboarding and implement continuous training for your team to increase productivity and minimize mistakes.
  • Define Roles: To mitigate the mayhem it’s crucial to establish a well-defined organizational structure with job descriptions that outline responsibilities. This will help with the development of new ideas and a clear path on how to get there.
  • Delegate. Delegate. Delegate: In a world saturated with hustle and constant busyness, it’s time to rip off the shackles of the daily grind and embrace a new way of getting stuff done. Consider delegating the development of training and playbooks to department heads so that they can clearly define what is expected from the employees and give them a sense of purpose and direction. But, let’s rewind for a moment. To make this transition, first, you must take the time to train your team thoroughly (refer back to number one).
  • Build Trust: Give your team members freedom to make decisions and allow them to think on their own – coming to you with solutions, not problems. As their leader, empower your team to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities so you can transition to working on the business rather than being involved in every operational detail.
  • Encourage Independence: Empowering employees not only benefits your team but also allows you more time and energy to work on your business’ growth. You’re not just delegating tasks, you’re cultivating a culture of ownership and accountability. Consider setting clear boundaries for availability and encouraging team members to take initiative and solve problems on their own.
  • Develop a SOP: Imagine your business running smoothly without you being tied to the daily grind. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) outline step-by-step processes for tasks, making it easier to delegate and maintain the quality of your product or services even when you’re not directly involved. That’s a Win. Win.
  • Establish KPIs: Without Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), you’re basically shooting in the dark. You need to know if all that hard work equates to something, right? KPIs help align your team’s efforts with your business objectives to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals.
  • Network: Entrepreneurship can be isolating, especially when you’re stuck in the loop of working in the business. Get out of the mundane monotony and start networking to generate more excitement for building your business. Or at the very least, find a space that is productive for you to escape the day-to-day and solely focus on the future of the business and its growth.
  • Prioritize: Make an effort to time-block so you have uninterrupted opportunities to get into a state of flow. Encourage your team members to do the same. Diving into the zone can give you the motivation you need to get out of the hustle mindset, break through barriers, and work on the business, rather than in the business.
  • Get Started: In the world of business, paralysis by analysis can mean missed opportunities and frustration. Recognize that progress often comes from imperfect actions rather than perfect plans. But that can be scary to execute. It’s your business after all. This is where the value of a business breakthrough agency truly shines. A skilled partner acts as a guiding light, helping you navigate the roadblocks familiar to “working in the business” and helping you break through the barriers that perfection paralysis can create.

Embrace the ‘Work on the Business’ Mindset to Reignite Growth

The distinction between working in your business and working on your business is pretty clear. But why is working on your business so important, and what does it truly offer to a business owner?

When you work on your business, you’re not just putting out fires and addressing immediate needs; you’re blueprinting a roadmap for the future. It’s a process that encourages strategic thinking, goal-setting, and envisioning the trajectory you want your business to follow. It’s about recognizing opportunities that lie beyond the grind of daily tasks to allow room for new ideas, new goals, and secure your business’s longevity.

It allows you to review strengths, assess opportunities, and address any weaknesses for increased productivity and efficiency, ultimately enhancing employee morale. Most importantly, it offers you the freedom to get back to doing what you love again and rediscover your “why.”

Stop being a cog in the machine. Let us help you take charge by working ON it, not just IN it.

At CMDS, we create and leverage unique opportunities for B2B businesses that generate opportunities for exponential business growth. Find out if the Business Breakthrough Bootcamp is the right fit for you.

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