Working On your business involves strategic planning versus tactical implementation. That means reflecting on what’s happening outside your business and its effects on you, as opposed to running the day to day operation. The result is reaching your goals by evaluating your processes and developing your own skills. Working In your business involves such daily activities as prospecting, serving customers, administration, and the “feel-good” activity of making bank deposits.
These daily activities will consume all your time and energy and take control of your business if you let them, preventing you from seeing the big picture, anticipating change, and responding to opportunities.
Steps for Working On Your Business
Step One: Plan the Work Weekly
The Harvard Business School completed a study of their graduates to determine what factors contributed to post graduate success. The number one factor was goal setting. The graduates that set goals, either formally or informally, were more likely to be successful in their careers and personal lives. Success was defined as a combination of compensation, career satisfaction, personal and professional achievements, and personal life satisfaction.
Planning the Work begins with goal setting. Know where you want your business to be in a year, in 5 years, and what your exit strategy for the business will be in ten years. Sometimes it is easier to set these goals starting with your exit strategy. Then ask yourself what intermediate steps do I need to do now to be in a position to achieve the goal in the future. This process sets the course of your business from where it is now to its planned destination.
Planning the work requires some time away from the business to determine if you are ‘on-course,’ plan any course corrections, and come back with a work plan that serves your goals.
Step Two: Work the Plan
Each planned goal should have a work plan for success; e.g. If one of your goals for the year is to grow sales by 20% the work plan will outline the activities necessary to achieve the goal.
Step Three: Evaluate Progress on a monthly basis and Make Necessary Course Corrections
Develop reports that provide timely, accurate information related to the weekly work plans and previously set goals. Remember, activity precedes results. Tracking activity will help to interpret the results you are getting. Monitor customer feedback and integrate the information into employee training, product/service innovation, and course corrections. Monitor your direct and indirect competition. Allocate your resources to insure your company’s next stage of development.
Tips for Working On Your Business
Set aside a time (2-3 hours) each week to get away from interruptions; e.g. go to a favorite deli, park, take a walk (use a recorder), etc.
Create your agenda for your time as the week progresses. Add items as they come up.
Meet once a month with someone or a group to go over your ideas. Banker, CPA, lawyer, etc. are also candidates.
Take in some business training workshops for fresh perspectives on issues your tackling.
Your investment of time in this activity will pay you back in generous dividends; e.g. cost savings, increased and better customer prospects, more sane moments, and a shorter distance to success.
Bruce Hunter is the CEO of CORE Magazine in Denver Colorado. CORE is the leading online source for small business startup. Visit our free online resource center now to get free access to information on small business finance.