It’s all too easy as a business owner to focus on the actual work you do for the business (e.g. sales, meeting deadlines, meeting authors, etc.) rather than on the total enterprise. That’s not surprising as you probably have a full time job in the business trying to keep it going and get stuff out the door. The problem is that there is likely to be no one working full time on the business. And that’s your job!
There are so many bigger things that have to be taken care of – strategic direction, planning, modifying your business model, putting good controls in place, monitoring performance, etc. that you must attend to if your business is to thrive. Running a business is about creating value and employment for others both internal and external to your business (extra work for suppliers etc). If you decide not to focus on this you will be reduced to just creating a job for yourself and not a wealth creating asset ie a business.
Some of the most important things your business needs you to attend to are ………
Working On The Business
There are aspects of your business that must be handled by the owner/manager with or without professional assistance: developing strategy and direction, perhaps meeting with key clients or suppliers, dealing with the bank, recruitment etc. It is vital that you are clear about the things that are essential for your role to undertake, so that you ensure you are spending most of your time on the functions that you are good at, or that allow you personally to control your business. The rest needs to be outsourced or delegated to staff.
What Are You Good At?
Be clear about what it is that you bring to your business. Most of us are only good at a small number of things. Consider where your strengths lie – be they in marketing, networking, selling, financing, organisation, innovation, leadership, or people – and resolve to focus as much as you can in that area. The things we don’t do well are often critical to identify. Where will you need help and where will you get it?
What Kind of Culture?
Culture is simply ‘the way we do things around here’ or, as we heard a client say recently, “what you do when no one is watching”. Culture is simply the set of behaviours that your employees think are normal or acceptable in your business. That will include things like the way they treat each other and people outside the organisation. It will include the kind of communication they think is appropriate between themselves and with your customers. In short, when this is good it is very good (and very valuable to your business), and when it is bad it is horrid.
What’s the point of having a great dream and wonderful ideas if you can’t get anything done? We all get derailed at times, caused by too many meetings or emails, doing too much ourselves, or due to competing demands from our other roles in life. In the end, the prizes go to effective people – those who can identify the priorities and make sure that most of their time is spent in areas that give a really good return on their efforts and skills. That’s so easy to say and ever so hard to do on a consistent basis.
We have noticed in the course of the workshops we run that the best owner operators have wonderful focus. They are very clear about what is ‘on top’ for their business. They work very hard to isolate the few things that will make all the difference if they resolve them e.g. developing a clear plan, finding great people to work with them, refining their business model until it hums, paying attention to key clients etc. It’s hard to distract these people with trivia. They don’t allow others to steal their day and they don’t wait to decide what to do until they check their email. They are also the ones who always ensure they get holidays and adequate time way from the business.
Extracted from ‘Don’t Get A Job, Build A Business’, by Joanne Hession and Joan Baker