Working “On” Your Business

Michael gerber, EMyth - tips learnt by Julia McdaidThe distinction between working ‘in’ and working ‘on’ your business is one that most business owners will recognise. And the related advice that, as leaders, we should spend more time working on our business is also widely accepted. But how exactly can we turn those good intentions into action?

Some time ago I was fortunate enough to see Michael Gerber speak live, and this is one of the things he spoke about.

The key learning points from Michael’s seminar were these:

* Entrepreneurs should concentrate on seizing opportunities, and let their managers worry about how to solve problems.

* The entrepreneur’s product is not what the business happens to sell, it is the business itself.

*The role of an entrepreneur isn’t to merely change his or her business – it is to transform it. Change is still connected to the past. Transformation leaps out of the past into the unknown.

* To help them with this transformation process, entrepreneurs should follow the example of Walt Disney by creating a ‘dreaming room’. A room where there are no rules. A room where they spend at least 10 minutes a day thinking about the future, not the past.

* Ultimately there is no difference between a small business and a big business: a big business is just a small business that has done all the right things.

I am a great believer in learning to work on your business, and its one of the things I help my clients with. If you would like to chat about this please get in touch

How To Make Best Use of Your Time

Authentic Edge - juggling workIt’s an age old problem isn’t it? Especially for entrepreneurs, who always have too much to do.

One of the easiest things to do to manage time well is to decide what is most important, and then do it. In other words always put first things first. Because really its not time you need to manage , its you! “Time management” is actually about prioritising the time you have.

Start by writing up a prioritised “To Do” list every day, it’s a good idea to do those at the end of the day ready for the next morning.

To help with prioritising, look at each item on your to do list and ask yourself whether it will move you closer towards achieving your goals. If the answer is ‘no’, then only do that task after you have done the other tasks that will.

Don’t procrastinate – especially with jobs that might seem difficult or unpleasant. You have no doubt heard the quote ‘If you have to eat a frog, don’t look at it too long!’ Work out the time of the day that you are most creative and productive and use that part of each day for your most important tasks.

Remember the 80:20 rule… ie that 20% of the effort usually generates 80% of the results. Make sure you identify (and do) everything in that 20% group.

According to Sir John Harvey-Jones, “leaders should only do what only they can do”.

So ask yourself the question ‘How much of my time is spent doing work I am over skilled for?’ Multiply that figure by how much your time is worth an hour (remember manual workers like mechanics are regularly charged out at £40+ an hour) to calculate the money you are wasting every year by being ineffective at delegating. And then multiply that figure by the number of years until you retire to give you an estimate of the money you can save by becoming a really effective delegator.

If you have terrified yourself at the thought of all those hundreds of thousands of pounds going to waste, invest a couple in The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey (Ken Blanchard, Harper Collins). It will show you how to simply, quickly and easily reclaim the time and money that is rightfully yours by mastering the art of delegation.

Once you master the art of delegation yourself, help everyone else in your business to master it too. That way everybody will be able to delegate large parts of their workload – saving you an enormous amount of money and creating a much more satisfying work environment.

A couple more ideas to help you:

Make meetings quicker, more effective and less wasteful by: holding them standing up (where appropriate), holding them at 5.30pm (will tend to be much shorter than 10am meetings!), circulating a written agenda beforehand (makes objectives clear and allows people to opt out if not relevant) and agreeing an action plan before departing.

Invest in a small handheld dictating machine, or better still get a decent App on your mobile, then you will always ahve it with you. Whenever you are on the move, use it to dictate letters etc and (even more importantly) to capture all those great ideas that tend to crop up at the least convenient times.

If you actually apply some or all of these ideas, your days should have more time availble for the things you love to do and the things that you want to do. Are you willing to make that effort?