WORKING IN, NOT ON THE BUSINESS

by Brad Lantz, Inner Circle Twin Cities

The following is the third post on Is Your Business Helping You to Lead a Richer Life? It falls under the category of discovering and maximizing Who You Are.

One of most common malaise of being an entrepreneur is that there’s seldom enough time to work ON the business, verses IN the business! Many indicate they spend only 5% of their time working ON the business.

“I don’t have time,” is one of the lies we tell ourselves, yet we are tired of checking off the meaningless tasks as we search for the illusion of having business success. Some call it the tyranny of the urgent, verses the important, however, as the saying goes: It is hard to remember when you are up to your ass in alligators that your objective was to drain the swamp. This analogy is often used in business, regarding how “unintended consequences” can assume greater importance than the activity that would bring the greatest value to the business.

Another lie is: I must do it myself—because it will take too long to train or delegate it someone else—and they won’t do it as well. In Teddy Roosevelt’s style of leadership, there wasn’t a single thing he would ask someone to do that he wouldn’t do himself, but he surrounded himself with people he knew could do it better. For an entrepreneur, one of the hardest things is “let someone else do it.” Surrounding yourself with a team you know is better than you are, and then getting out of their way, is much tougher, and most of the time, a task takes takes longer than we would like to imagine when “they” do verses doing it ourselves – but it is worth it!

You got into business because of an idea or product that you felt you could provide the marketplace, and do it better, faster, more convenient or easier. Or you felt you could certainly do it better than your last boss. Then as your company grew, other things (I.E. people management) got in the way.

Owners tend to spend most of their time in their “comfort zone” part of their business, but stepping out of the comfort zone, and letting go, is required and imperative for the growth and success of your business.

I have noticed certain trends with most entrepreneurial companies.  Now ask yourself if these are true for you:

  • Neglect areas of the business that could be just as important as getting your widget to market, such as financial, marketing, accounting, branding, human resources, etc.

Q: If you encounter an area of your business that you are not particularly strong in, how do you handle it?

  • I have hired the best of the mediocre candidates (that was all I found). So you start and build your teams around mediocrity.  This practice creates work for the owner because he or she must provide greater supervision, which is generally not one of his or her strengths, rather than delegate to others.

Q:  Are you and your people familiar with and following the five levels of delegation?

Q: Are you assessing, hiring, on boarding, and training the best people?

Q: Do you pause and take time to reflect on what it will take to get to the next level?

  • Have you identified, developed and written your core values as well as the vision of where you will be in five years (your destination), and the action plan to get there.

Q:  Only 9-13% of entrepreneurial companies have a written plan.  Are you one of them?

  • Have not communicated to your people your core values or vision in a written plan, so instead your people are task oriented from 8 to 5, with little idea about what will take them and the company to the future.

Q: How can you make sure that each of your people understand how they fit in your vision, how it affects them, and then have each create their own personal development plan?

  • Are not following processes that will allow your new hires to on board and then train future employees and provide a consistent product/service for their customers.

Q: Do you have a specific highly communicative process that is followed by your entire company?

Many of our members have admitted that the four hours they spend in our monthly meetings is their time working ON the business. It forces them to think about where they are going, and how they are going to get there, rather than just their daily grind of get ‘er done.

Whatever you are producing, do it with excellence! Pause to think about it.  If you could spend more time doing what you are really good at, and your people were all working together to accomplish your vision, would your business be doing better, and would your life be richer?

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