It’s an old saying: work on your business, not in it.
But in reality it’s somewhat more difficult to achieve, particularly as your business reaches a certain size. For example, I’m delivering a training programme right now… well, not right now, obviously, I’m writing this blog in a hotel room because we’re at the end of the first day.
So, right now, I am working on my business because I’m writing this blog which is explaining to you, the reader, how we go about our business…
But, if I was writing this in the middle of the course (which would have been very rude) I would be working in the business, not on it. But I have to do it because the client I’m working for insists that it’s me rather than one of our team.
The thing is, I don’t actually mind, because it’s a great job and it’s quite flattering that the client is thinking like that.
And, come on… one job is okay, isn’t it?
Well, yes and no. As long as it is just one job, because I would say it’s pretty impossible to work on your business all the time. There has to be some working in.
The secret is to recognise what’s happening and not let it get out of control. And therein lies the problem. Working in your business becomes insidious.
It starts with one job and then you do it again and then it’s just one more and before you know it you’re sucked right in and you haven’t even noticed it. Or, if you have noticed, then you can’t do anything about it because you’ve made yourself indispensible when it comes to operations.
That’s when the cycle gets really hard to break.
So, how do you break it?
Well, you have to recognise you’re in ‘work in’ mode to start with. This may be obvious but it may be more subtle than that – it may be more of a feeling that things aren’t quite going in the right direction or the business isn’t growing as it should.
However, once your issue has been identified there are only a couple of things to be done: decide that you’re happy with the business as it is and live with things as they are… or invest in staff and processes to make sure you are able to remove yourself from doing.
It really is (almost) that simple. That’s not to say it’s easy to achieve, because it isn’t.