As a small business owner, you’ll naturally be intimately familiar with every last nook and cranny of your business. Think about that business for a second. Try to picture it in your mind.
Are you picturing yourself standing inside something, slowly turning around to take in your surroundings? Or do you picture yourself looking down on something that you are controlling from above? If you’re like many business owners starting out, it’s probably the former – and that can be a real problem long-term.
The reality of starting up a business is that you are going to have to roll up your sleeves and get involved in the day-to-day at the outset. At a certain stage though, your job should become setting the overall course and strategy for the business, rather than taking care of execution yourself.
In short, you need to start working on your business rather than in it to have a chance of long-term success. Let’s look at three simple tactics you can use to make that transition.
- Accept The Fact That It’s Not All About You
Your first step is a psychological shift rather than an action item per se. Before you can realistically dig out some space to get away from the everyday and start thinking strategically, you’re going to have to put down that superhero cape and accept that your business simply cannot be all about you if it’s going to be a long-term success.
This will have the whiff of heresy about it for many business owners who over-identify with their roles and glory in constant fire-fighting. If that’s the case, you simply need to get over yourself!
Successful businesses are about people, processes, and purposes. You’re a key cog in the wheel, but you need to psychologically accept that it’s not all about you.
- Bite The Hiring Bullet
From mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 500 companies, hiring is one of the most difficult things to get right in any business There’s no getting around it though – you’re simply going to have to hire to free up time to work on wider processes.
Yes, this will be daunting. Yes, you may not get it right straight out of the gate. There’s no avoiding it though, you need extra hands on deck to free up your own time.
This doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair, though. If you’re just starting off, even five hours of part-time assistance a week could be enough to give you that crucial space to start looking at the bigger picture.
- Focus Relentlessly On Procedures And Documentation.
Now we get to the meat of the matter. The single biggest thing you have to do to make the move from working in your business to working on your business is to focus on documented procedures.
Make no mistake about it, this is no walk in the park. The internal resistance towards doing this in smaller businesses is often immense. It seems so much easier just to simply do the task in front of you and move on to the next one, rather than documenting how it needs to be done.
Fail to do this, though, and the only person who will ever be doing that task is you. It’s that simple.
Carving out the time to work on the overall direction and strategy of your business is an iterative process, and one that you just have to keep chipping away out over time. Take our three stages above as general processes that you will return to time and again, and don’t try to solve all your problems at once – that way madness lies!
Stick to our sequence over the long haul, rinse and repeat, focus on small wins and you’ll gradually find yourself having more and more time to steer the ship, rather than spending all day desperately shoveling coal into the engine.