How to Work On Your Business, Not Just In It
When you started your company, you imagined the day when business would be booming, current clients would be sending consistent work and maintaining regular income wouldn’t be a struggle. For many business owners and managers, that time has arrived. You are busier than ever trying to finish projects, meet deadlines and continue to deliver the high-quality production of work your clients have come to expect. At the same time, business owners and leaders know a solid, consistent pipeline of new business is essential to the long-term success of the business.
A plan for strategic growth is something everyone knows they should have, but who has the time to create and implement one? Most business owners would say their biggest challenge is getting to a point where they are not actively working “on” their business because they are too busy working “in” their business. How do you navigate the delicate balance of running your business without getting caught up in the smaller, daily details?
Creating a strategic growth plan takes time. There are many details to address, so how do you prioritize? Important elements for a good growth plan include streamlining work flow processes, recruiting and training talent who are a good fit for the culture you are working to create, and finding diverse prospecting avenues for new relationship and business development. Most folks don’t think they can afford the “thinking time” away from checking tasks off their daily to-do lists. However, you do not want to reach a point where you neglect these things, as they are the foundation of your business, and helped you get where you are today. Working on your business, as opposed to in it, will help you achieve future successes as you grow.
The best way to combat working in your business is to create—and continually revisit—your business’ strategic plan. This plan defines your organization’s direction and provides guidance on how resources should be used to achieve the overall strategy for the company. A strategic plan goes one step further than a traditional business plan, in that it outlines how to leverage your goals to take advantage of future business opportunities.
Strategic planning provides direction, outlines measurable goals and creates an action plan for future growth. While a strategic plan is helpful for guiding day-to-day decisions, it’s best used to evaluate progress and changing approaches moving forward.
If you are trapped in the day-to-day hamster wheel of working in your business, referring to your strategic plan clears away the mental fog and allows you to refocus on the bigger picture. Company managers and owners are in a better position to understand their business and test industry trend data when they employ a strategic plan. Your plan helps review past progress—see what tactics may have succeeded or failed—and make changes to improve as you move forward.
In business, you should always remember the mission and values that delivered your initial success, and then continuously and actively work on your business by testing and delivering new strategies to meet the needs of your customers. As your business prospers and you gain more clients and projects, a strategic plan becomes invaluable. It will shine a spotlight on where your business has been, the goals it has reached, what the next steps are and how to achieve future objectives.