Working On The Business
Every business owner needs to spend time working on the business. If you have never heard this term, stay tuned. If you have heard it before, but could use a little help figuring out how to do it, read on.
What is Working On The Business?
One of the first lessons I learned from starting Welch Law is that I need dedicated time to focus on the business. Not the “doing law stuff,” rather, the building of systems and processes that make doing law stuff easier and more efficient. The same can be said for any business or business owner. Regardless of whether it is doing law stuff, or doing warehousing stuff, or doing restaurant stuff, or doing roofing stuff.
Working on the business is creating systems, analyzing trends, implementing and testing processes, setting standards, and delegating the “doing stuff”. It sounds easy, and it certainly can be if you put forth the effort. Unfortunately, many business owners get over whelmed working in the business and neglect working on the business.
3 Easy Steps for Working On The Business
1. Schedule Time, EVERY Week.
The first step to make working on the business easy is to schedule time to do it. Dedicate at least 2-4 hours every week, during normal business hours, for this type of work. I recommend dedicating 2+ hours for each block of time you will work on the business. For example, I have a 4-hour block of time scheduled every week to spend on my business.
2. Create Realistic Goals.
Whether you are a new business owner or a seasoned vet, you need to set realistic goals of what you plan to accomplish. Some tasks may only need a week or two to accomplish, others may take two or three months. Still, others may be an ever-evolving process that is revisited regularly. Whatever your goals are, remember to set completion goals as well.
3. Never Compromise.
I ask new business owners whether they are creating a job or a business (read more here). If you are creating a business, you cannot do so without working on the business. This means you cannot compromise the time you set aside each week to do this very important work. Creating, implementing, testing, and improving systems and processes are what transform a job into a business. No single client, referral partner, or networking event is worth you jeopardizing your dream.
Starting Points for Working On The Business
There are an infinite number of ways in which you can work on your business. These are just a few starting points if you are not sure where to begin:
1. Create a Company Continuity Binder
This is a collection of each and every task you do in your business. Yes, EVERY TASK. For example, if you worked here at Welch Law, you would be able to open a word document with a robust table of contents. In that document you would find the exact steps for things like:
- Ordering Stamps;
- Ordering Paper, including the brand, weight, brightness, and preferred vendor(s);
- Creating client folders, for each practice group, in both digital and hard formats; and
- The list goes on…
Once you create your continuity binder, you will want to continuously review it, test it, update it, and improve it. Note: I’ve seen these on shared workspaces, as physical binders, and as comprehensive documents. Do whatever makes sense for your business.
2. Implement Systems
Every business has systems, some just don’t know it yet. They can be as small as “what happens when a piece of mail comes in” to as complex as “here is how we process the removal and replacement of a roof.” Discovering these systems and fine-tuning how they operate in your business can save you a lot of time, missed opportunities, and poor out-put.
To help you get started, ask yourself, is there a program or resource that can do this better? For example, if you keep track of all your business contacts or projects on an excel data sheet, is there a customer management system that can do it better?
P.s. the answer to that last question is yes. You just have to pick one and implement it.
We hear this all the time, but a lot of small business owners have a hard time delegating their workload. So, consider some non-traditional ways of delegation to start with.
For example, when a new contact comes into our database, whether it is from our website, a networking event, or otherwise, we have automated the systems we use to share that information with one another. In essence, no matter where we input that data, it automatically feeds to every other program we utilize. No more double and triple entries, no more wasted time.
Working On Your Business to Stay in Business
You cannot create a business if you are not willing to spend time working on your business. A few hours every week dedicated to creating systems, developing processes, and brainstorming, can make your business shine. There are countless resources on the web that can help you along your journey. Or, if you really have no idea where to start you can reach out to your trusted advisors, a business coach, or the SBA.
We’d love to hear from you on how you are Working On Your Business in the comments. Likewise, if you would like to learn more about the ways we are working on our business, please feel free to contact us or call (636) 352-1222. We are always happy to share ideas and learn new ways to improve or implement our own.