Business owners must step away from routine tasks to work on the business and look forward.

When you’re a business owner, there's always more to be done than you have time to accomplish. It's easy to become trapped in a vicious cycle of completing one task after another without stopping and stepping back to look at the bigger picture. When you don't take the time to work on the business, where are you even going? If you’re not thinking about strategy, what possibilities are you missing out on? How do you know what’s coming down the road? We owe it to our customers and our potential customers to set ourselves up to address challenges and embrace new opportunities. If we don't do that, we're missing the boat.

Working On Your Business

Being a CEO is about working on your business, not just in it. This is the concept Michael Gerber coined and encouraged in his book The E-Myth Revisited. He recognized that small business owners especially have the tendency to work a lot, but often on the wrong work. They need to step away from the routine and everyday tasks to take care of the work of looking forward. Their role is to be strategic about their business, always thinking above and beyond.

Balancing the “working on” versus the “working in” as your business grows is a complicated challenge. You get so busy in the day to day that you don't look forward. If you’re constantly doing the work to put products out the door, without every looking forward, you may end up in a place where the business that you've created is not a business that you want to spend your time in. You have to step back and make the decisions about where your business needs to go and who you are going to serve moving forward. The tips below will help you refocus your time and energy to work on your business so it grows to its full capacity and capability.

  1. Schedule time on your calendar to do work on the business. If you don’t set time aside for strategic focus, it will never happen. There's always going to be work in the business demanding your time and attention.
  2. Be willing to delegate work and empower others. Releasing tasks means you’re not doing them or micromanaging the work around them. Delegate and empower others to own those tasks and be accountable for them. When others are responsible for that work, it frees up time on your calendar to do the work on the business and clarify the vision.
  3. Communicate your business growth path and invite your team into it. As you clarify the vision and know where your business is going, you’ll get a more robust and engaging path by including your team. You’re responsible for it, but they have expertise and experiences to contribute to it.

Even though the task-oriented work of your business is important, your role as the business owner is to step away from it. You have to be the person who is looking out on the horizon. I help business owners recognize that they have a bigger picture to look at and carve out time for that work. If that work doesn’t energize you or you’re not a visionary, it’s time to find new ways to look ahead and engage others to help you see what’s coming.

Rhonda Peterson has been working with business executives and owners since 2010 to help them uncover and lean into their strengths and own their leadership roles. Through her executive coaching, leaders gain clarity and are equipped with the skills to build strong teams and grow profitability. Rhonda also uses her signature interactive approach to empower groups as a speaker and workshop facilitator. Participants leave with the knowledge and motivation to focus their energy, do their best work and have a greater impact in their organization and life. To ensure you don’t miss future articles and tips, sign up to have Rhonda’s monthly newsletter delivered directly to your inbox!

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