4 Keys to Working On Your Business (Not In Your Business)

@porsche design

The Secret to Working On Your Business, Rather Than In It.

Most people think it’s difficult to pick winners and losers in business. But truth be told, it’s as easy as studying the business owner/founder. Explore his priorities and day-to-day activities and you’ll get a crystal clear picture of where things are headed.

If the owner spends all of his time working in his business, the company is destined for mediocrity (or failure). But if he spends the majority of his time and energy working on the business, the future will be bright.

So the big question for you is quite simple: Are you working on your business, or in it?

4 Ways to Work On Your Business

When you’re a one-person business, you have to do it all. But as you scale up and add team members, it’s important that you drop back and delegate.

“As the leader of your business, you are responsible for spotting problems and delegating solutions. You are responsible for setting goals and thinking about the future,” entrepreneur Rhett Power writes. “The only person in your company who will be genuinely motivated to grow your company is you. Every minute that you spend working on tasks that can be delegated is a minute that you are not planning, strategizing and building the best business possible.”

Those may seem like strong words, but they’re true. There’s only one person who can work on the business. But there’s an endless pool of people who can work in your business. Embrace your role and find other people to do the remaining tasks.

Here are some suggestions to make this simpler:

1. Outsource as Much as Possible

If a task can be outsourced, you should almost always do so. While it can initially take more time to outsource something than to do it yourself, the time is saved on the back end. And if you’re able to bundle tasks together and outsource them to the same company or contractor, you’ll see significant savings almost immediately.

Take real estate investing as an example. If you’re still doing all of the little tasks like tenant screening, property inspections, and repairs, there’s almost no time left for you to work on the big picture (like sourcing deals, finding financing, etc.). Thankfully, all you have to do is find a property management company and outsource it to them. This one move could save you several hours per week (per property).

ClubSwan80 @Nautor’s Swan

2. Hire People You Trust

Don’t get so caught up in hiring people with experience that you forget about the most important characteristic of all: trustworthiness.

If you want the ability to delegate important tasks to members of your team, you must have a group of people that trust. And trustworthiness isn’t something you cultivate over time. A person either has it or they don’t. Thus, it should be one of those things that you’re constantly looking for in the interview and vetting process.

3. Create Standard Operating Procedures

You might think you’re the only person who can do something, but that’s probably not true. In most cases, you are completely replaceable. (And that’s good news!) The key is to document everything you do by creating a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all repeatable processes.

An SOP is nothing more than a templated document that walks people through how to perform a particular task in a step-by-step fashion. Whether it’s posting content to social media or operating a complex piece of machinery, SOPs can be attached to anything.

Compensate Appropriately

It’s nearly impossible to run a successful business if you’re experiencing constant turnover. Unfortunately, businesses that don’t properly compensate their employees are always losing people. (And in most cases, the best employees are the quickest to leave.)

As you think about compensation, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Do we pay enough?
  • Do we give enough respect and appreciation?
  • Do we provide a pleasant work environment?

If you can’t confidently answer “yes” to all three questions, something is off. Proactively fix the weak spots and look for ways to strengthen your compensation package.

Putting it All Together

The process of removing yourself from your business so that you can zoom out and work on your business isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes months of careful planning and execution. There will be mistakes and growing pains, but you have to work through them. Eventually, with the right people and processes, a clear strategy will emerge, and you’ll find yourself in the role you weren’t always meant to hold.