Your business is not your life – just a part of it, albeit a vital part! If you allow it, your involvement can become a trap. Once you can accept that your purpose in life is not to serve your business, you will begin to understand why you need to work on it, rather than just in it. The starting point here is to ask the basic question: “How can I own my business and still be free of it? … without it owning me?”
Seeing your business in its proper perspective and working on it, will generate satisfaction with less of the pain usually associated with owing and managing a small business. Working on your business will make it better able to provide the tangible rewards you expect – better profits, improved cash flow and increased leverage from your inputs such as time, ideas and effort without the growing pains. To reach this state, you need to make the performance of your business far less dependent on you. Making your business systems-dependent rather than people-dependent will make it better able to function without continually demanding human inputs of a high order.
When properly implemented (i.e. designed to be virtually self-activating), good operating systems can reduce your personal involvement in the actual work of the business and thereby reduce its dependence on you. In an increasingly change-driven world, the owner/managers of most firms seem to be resigned to just coping with chaos. Order is what most people want, but for many it is just a dream. In a business context order tells your customers that “this is how we do it here”. It also says to your employees “they can trust in their future with you”.
You are asking yourself: “How do I do this? and “Where do I start?” If you are working in your business (rather than on it), the chances are you are so close to the action you can’t see what needs to be done. If you feel you are going down under the burden of work-related stress, ask yourself: “What are my personal life goals?” Then take some time to stand back from your business, look at it critically and ask: “What needs doing to make it able to run by itself and still be a success?” You will almost certainly need to bring others into your evaluation, and that should help. You will need to look at whether your business goals (see Key Number 2) match up with your life goals and decide whether or not your current business methods and operations are achieving those goals. Then make the changes needed.
Using carefully documented operating systems, means that while employees come and go, the business runs ‘as always’. However, all methods and procedures must not be cast in concrete . they need to be flexible and changed when change is needed. Everything in your business should be subject to change when improvement is indicated. All this can be achieved while reducing your personal involvement in the detailed running of the business. All you need to do is work on your business!! For the sake of yourself and your business, start today!