Over the past month one of the realizations I’ve made is that I’m spending too much time working IN my business and not enough time working ON my business. Part of this is to be expected being a small business owner on a new venture. I’ve had Athletic Lab open for 4 months now and in addition to the training, coaching and program design that is our core-business; I end up doing the majority of the menial tasks just to keep the gym in working order as well as handling the less-local consulting and correspondence training operations of HPC. But I’m coming to the realization that to get things to accelerate at Athletic Lab I need to start working more ON the business rather than so much in it. Things are working ok right now but as the business continues to pick up steam I’m inching closer and closer to the limits of what I can handle. By working IN my business, I’ve been spending too much time doing things that I should be delegating or outsourcing. The tricky thing is that making the transition from IN to ON takes additional time investment. To make the switch you not only have to handle what you’re already doing; you also have to figure out what needs done, develop a system for doing it that others can follow, and then train someone to do the job your currently handling. To work ON your business you need to start out doing all the work but have the goal of eventually turning much of it over to someone else. You need to keep track of what you’re doing, when you’re doing it and how you’re doing it. In my case, I’ve started writing down detailed procedures as I do the things that I think will eventually be passed on to an assistant.
The four main things you need to remember in this process are (via Gerber):
- What can I do to make my business run without me?
- How can I get my assistants to work with as little interference or direction from me as possible?
- How can I own my business but still be free from it?
- How can I spend my time doing the work I love to do, rather than the work I have to do?
The ultimate goal of working ON your business should be to make it function well enough that you can go on vacation, get sick, or deal with family emergencies and not have to shut your doors or worry that things aren’t operating like they would if you were there. You need to make the business autonomous enough that it isn’t DEPENDENT on you. For someone like myself who is very exacting and particular with how I want things done and typically does them myself because of that, I realize that making the transition will not happen overnight and that it will take a concerted effort on my part to trust others and be patient with the process.
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