how to work on your business

The question about how to work on your business was probably first raised in Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited.

There are only so many hours in the day, and once you’ve filled them with being busy, you reach your capacity and turning up and doing the work every day is not enough to make your business grow.

Even with staff, if you are involved in every every question, decision and problem, then you’re still the bottleneck to growth.

To build a growth business, you have to work on your business, not just in it.  But exactly how do your work on your business, and what does working on your business really mean?  This infographic shows the critical areas of your business that need attention as you strive for serious growth.

How to work on your business

Indeed, when growing a business, sometimes you have to stop doing the work if you want to make more money. The idea that you should work hard to be successful, instilled at school and reinforced in early life, is not true.  You’ve got to do the right work, not just hard work.

An electrician can only work on one project at a time, and doesn’t get paid when he goes on holiday.  But grow that business to have 10 electricians, and it’s possible to have lots of projects on the go, and the owner’s job changes from being an electrician to being an entrepreneur and manager.

Did you notice how all of the technical stuff (like electrical work for the electrician, or food preparation and purchasing for a restaurant, or providing mortgage advice for a broker) is not mentioned in the Infographic?  That’s the part you’ve already got under control – and are an expert at.  It’s almost certainly the other areas that are holding you back.

How To Work ON Your Business – Getting Started…

It would be sheer madness to try and tackle projects in all of these areas at once.  If you try (and I’ve known one or two business owners who started out that way), nothing gets finished because there’s no focus.  In fact, you end up in total chaos!

And, quite frankly, there are too many individual topics in the 7 areas to work on at the same time.  Marketing, for example, covers a multitude of topics from website design to social media, from split-testing copy to gathering customer testimonials.  Far too much to do in one area at the same time, let alone trying to tackle everything at once.

To compound the problem, you work according to your personal preferences and habits – you do the things you’re comfortable with and probably avoid areas you don’t understand (most business owners avoid both their accounts and dealing with problem staff, for example).  So where do you focus for growth?

[thrive_2step id=’4154′]where-to-focus-checklist


Work To Your Strengths – But Manage Weaknesses Carefully…

In business this often translates to you working on the things you most like doing – typically the technical work of your business.  Meanwhile everything else becomes a problem.

It is a good strategy to play to your strengths.  One of my clients built a successful business with £2 million turnover by selling services and products himself.  But it got stuck there, because his knowledge was limited to selling – he didn’t know how to recruit, motivate and manage salespeople so that he could multiply his own success.

So, as you consider how to work on your business, make sure you focus on your strengths.

It’s the things you don’t understand or don’t address that grow from small problems to roadblocks your business cannot out-run.

And it’s these things that are your Barriers to Growth.

Instead of tackling all of them at once, focus on them and quickly knock them out of your way, one after another.  Delegate and outsource when you need to – and don’t give up – sometimes it takes a few failures and knocks to learn the lessons that get you back on track.

Growth Accelerates When You Eliminate A Barrier to Growth

When you put your focus onto the area that’s holding you back, it unblocks your growth and moves you on again.  It’s a bit like a hot-air balloon that’s tethered to the ground – no matter how much gas you burn to create more lift, it’s going nowhere until you cut the rope.

This is the method described in my best-selling book from Financial Times Publishing, Double Your Business.  It’s got a methodical approach that teaches you how to work on your business.

For example, if you’re not motivated yourself, you’ll struggle to motivate your team to follow your lead.  Instead, you’re all likely to be struggling.  So you’d start by figuring out what was wrong with your motivation.  I call the action-plan for this, Get Your Mojo Back!

Doing this alone will get you motivated to really figure out how to work on your business – because when you’re on the ball, everything works better.  But follow it up with developing a One-Page Business Plan and holding a Launch Event with your team and you’ll get everybody engaged and working to help grow the business.

Some businesses get by with word-of-mouth marketing.  But it’s not scalable.  At some point you need to build a system capable of producing more leads, predictably.  You need to develop a proper lead-generation marketing plan.  And if you’re starting from scratch, it can be a frustrating exercise.

And when y0u’re figuring out how to work on your business, the way you deal with frustrations is important.  You’ve got to be able to dust yourself off and get going again when an idea doesn’t work out.

Or, if your salespeople (including you) are not closing sales enquiries, there’s no point getting lots more enquiries.  You would be far better served by improving sales technique.  I call the action-plan for this, Create High-Performance Salespeople.

Every Symptom Needs A Unique Solution

Each symptom requires a distinct action plan to get your business moving forward again.

It doesn’t matter what your problem is – mojo or marketing, cash flow or staffing, service or operational problems.  Growth can only restart when you diagnose your Barrier to Growth and then build a solid action plan to address it.

It’s simple, uncomplicated and effective.  And – it will get your business growing faster.

[thrive_2step id=’4154′]where-to-focus-checklist


Enjoyed this article?  You might also enjoy one of my videos – Rapid Business Growth – Three Flows That Drive Success