Insights

Are you working IN your Business – or ON it?

It happens to the best of us.

You grow busier and busier.  Your work day becomes all-consuming. Your business begins to take over your life.  You work 12-hour days, get home exhausted, have minimal time to eat and sleep, and then you do it all over again the next day.  Things start to slip, revenue stalls out, profitability is down – and worst of all, you start to question why you’re even running the company.

Or perhaps things are going along OK, but there is a nagging thought deep down there is potential to do things better.  You think, ‘wow, what heights I could achieve if I can just figure it all out … Whatever that means.

You hear all the time from those in the know: work on the business, not in it.  But how can you do that when your business needs you so badly just to get through to the next day?

Here are 4 ideas we know can make an impressive difference:

1. Get additional expertise and support
Too often as business leaders we take on more than we can effectively accomplish.

We wear multiple hats and handle key projects. When we over-commit and are over-worked, the result is that projects, issues and opportunities drag on and get done halfway right – if at all.

ECS and other companies exist to provide you with the ability to provide extra horsepower either on a fractional or temporary basis.  Don’t like managing sales?  Hire a fractional sales leader who can drive revenue.  Finance a struggle for you?  Bring in a fractional CFO who can lead the way.

The result when you tap into outside expertise: you’ll end up with more of your time back for yourself, there will be a boost to the entire team, and the end game result from welcoming in outside support will astound you

2. Join a Peer Board
As the name indicates, “peer boards” bring like minded business leaders to, usually once a month, to support each other by providing valuable feedback.  Being able to ask a group of trusted advisors for support in getting past an issue can give you the perspective you lack on your own.

Need some ideas of how to join in on one? In the Philadelphia area, we recommend chatting with Marc Sinkow of Entrepreneurs Council or Jim Lucas of Vistage (Vistage also has a global footprint of other boards)

3. Take time to learn
About two years ago, I came across a wise person who introduced me to Audible and audiobooks.  Since then, I’ve listened to over 120 books, ranging from fun sci-fi novels to great business books.  And while we’re on the subject of controlling your schedule, let me recommend Essentialsim by Greg McKeown.

I make it a point to listen to new and old titles on audiobooks, attend at least one business event a month and where possible, sneak in a webinar.

Admittedly not all of them are great – but I do get a chance to keep up with the latest business trends. Occasionally I learn something that greatly alters my thinking and makes a deep impact on the way I conduct my business. That’s powerful stuff.

4. Take time to recharge
We all wear “busy” and “lack of sleep” as a badge of honor.  But stop and think about it. You don’t do yourself any favors by wearing yourself out day-after-day.  I can tell you, we come up with some of our best ideas when we take the time to reflect and discuss.

In addition, not taking the time to recharge has been proven to have a huge impact on you physically and mentally.  If you haven’t discovered mindfulness, be sure to take a minute to check out our friend Harriet Stein and Big Toe in the Water.  She can help bring you and your company back to balance, making a difference to everyone’s overall health. (Just writing this makes me feel more relaxed.)

So the bottom line is this:  the mark of a good leader is to know when to work on the business and when to work in the business.  By utilizing others and taking the time you need, you’ll find you don’t have to be everything and the head bottle washer to be successful.

I’d love to chat with you about your experiences as a business leader – we can swap war stories! Or, if you have any other business question, opportunity, or challenge, drop me a note or give me a call.  I’d love to connect with you. Find me on LinkedIn here –  Bill Morrow – 610-310-6707 bmorrow@thinkempirical.com