What does working on the business really mean?
As a business owner (or entrepreneur) you spend a lot of time working to build your business. You are:
- Finding new customers,
- Keeping existing customers happy,
- Providing your product or service to customers,
- Hiring good people,
- Retaining your employees,
- Keeping on top of the finances,
- Putting out fires,
- And generally growing your business.
And many business owners can generate a lot of revenue and even profit doing the above. They may even significantly grow their businesses.
So isn’t that working on your business if you are growing it?
Partly, but not really.
Working on the Business
What are you doing to make the actual business (the processes, systems, information technology, automation, tools, the facilities, the infrastructure, etc.) run the way you want them to? Did they grow by accident or did you plan to do it that way? Did you just let each employee figure out a process that works for them?
The great businesses treat building the business that delivers the product/service to the customer as just as important (or more so) than the product/service you are delivering. After all, products and services change over time. As well, the consistency at which you deliver the product or service very important to establishing your brand or reputation.
Your “business” needs to reinforce and support your: mission, core values, company culture, vision and goals. It needs to be in alignment with your core (mission and values) and support the execution of your strategy. I refer to this as alignment.
Your business also needs to be efficient and competitive at what it does. This means your process and systems need to maximize the value generated versus the costs. The difference between these is the profit and all businesses need to eventually generate profit to stay viable. This is also where business innovation comes into play. I refer to this part as efficiencies.
If your business is efficient but is not in alignment you will get to the wrong place faster.
There are many ways to be more efficient at something and sometimes parts of your business can be “good enough”. You can’t compromise on alignment if you want to achieve your personal vision.
This will vary by owner (or entrepreneur) but some good reasons include:
- Your business will not depend on you or any other one person for success.
- Your main job as an entrepreneur is to build a business.
- If you want to sell your business, one that is well run and predictable in making profit is worth a lot more to a buyer.
- You can take off more time from your business without worrying about direction or survival.
- Working at your business will be more predictable and less stressful leading to better staff retention levels.
- Unless you are a natural builder, you will likely make more money and spend less time working per week over the long run. The same holds true for employees.
And the best reason: You will be more likely to build the business you really want; this will lead to much more long-term satisfaction.