Working On Your BusinessIf you are like many business owners, you feel frustrated because you realize you are too bogged down in the day-to-day operations of your company but don’t know how to free yourself from this trap. When the enterprise you set up was in its early days, it seemed natural to have a hand in every aspect of the business. However, according to management principles, if you want to grow your company, and build it into a business that will survive and keep growing, you have to change the way you do things and get out from this level of involvement.

Making this transition is sometimes described as learning to work on your business and not in it. The concept originated in a book called The E-Myth — that is, entrepreneurial myth — by a business guru who pointed out that many people who start businesses are technicians who are experts in that particular industry, and actually prefer to stay involved in the day-to-day running of the business, because they feel safer, and because they believe nobody else can do it as well. However, they are not promoting the growth of the company this way — they need to make the transition to managers, who can put the right systems in place, and then to entrepreneurs with a vision of how the company can become what they originally wanted it to be.

Entrepreneurs Or Business People

Of course, many people who start companies are in fact entrepreneurs with a vision but are obliged in the early days of their business to do everything themselves, because they can’t afford to employ staff. When they acquire more employees, they continue in this way because it has become a habit. If this describes you, you may need help in getting “out” of the business and learning to work on instead of in it — that is, stepping back and looking at where you want the business to be and how it can get there.

Small Business MarketingThe first step in making this transition is changing your mindset. You have to be ready to leave your comfort zone and unlearn many of your old habits. In particular, you have to be prepared to accept that maybe some of your staff can do some things as well as you can, and if they can’t do them quite as well, they can learn. You will never master time management and control of your business without learning to let go

The Secret Of Delegation

Your acceptance of this will enable you to take the next step, which is to delegate. If you are going to take some time out for working ON your business, somebody else has to do the work you would have been doing. If you don’t have the right people, you have to take tough management decisions — hire new people and train them. You will find delegation hurts at first, so you can begin by delegating very specific tasks. As staff prove themselves, and the business doesn’t fold, you can start handing over larger projects and wider responsibilities, and you will see people’s skills and confidence grow.

In your initial stages of a delegation, you may only be able to free yourself up for a short time — say, two hours a week. Block this time out and discipline yourself not to allow any interruptions. Use the time to focus on one specific project that has to do with the growth of your business. For instance, identify one goal you want to achieve and write down ways of getting there; think of one way you can differentiate yourself from the competition; consider ways you can improve the morale and productivity of staff through positive rewards. As your level of delegation grows and your time out increases, you will find it becomes more and more effective and productive.

The Importance Of Working On Your BusinessOnce the delegation is well underway, the next stage is to put systems in place, making it much easier for others to run every aspect of the business. Systems can address and minimize problems before they occur — if a problem arises, a tried and tested system will act as a roadmap and direct the way staff will respond to the situation. Once you have the right systems in place, based on the right management principles, the business should almost be able to run itself. This way you can finally make the transition to being an entrepreneur, as the systems do most of the managing for you.

At the end of a year, from a small and tentative start, you could notice a massive difference in the business, as well as in yourself. You have made the transition from doing to managing, and from managing to leading. Now you are finally in a position to provide the vision and inspiration that are so essential for the growth of your business — but if you look round, you will be surprised at how much it has grown already.