As a small business owner and from working with small business owners, I’ve found that most of us share a common challenge: Finding time to work “on” our companies rather than just “in” them.
Entrepreneurs that lead small companies wear many hats—operations, sales, marketing, and so on. When anything goes awry in any aspect of their businesses, they have to jump into action to quickly solve the issue. This makes it challenging to grow the business. Moreover, it's why small businesses struggle to get to the next level—only 26 percent of them make more than $1 million annually.
So, how can you get off the proverbial hamster wheel and start spending more time on formulating strategies to help your business grow?
While everyone’s situation is unique, I believe some of the tactics that have helped me carve out time for critical planning activities can help you, too.
1. Commit to a mindset shift.
Make it a priority to treat “on-business” work with the same sense of urgency as “in-business” work. If a top customer were to call you and tell you they have an immediate need, you would take the phone call, right?
Of course, you would.
Treat your “on the business” responsibilities that seriously, too.
2. Start small to make it manageable.
Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to carve out significant chunks of time from the get-go. You'll be amazed at how much you can accomplish by dedicating just 20 uninterrupted minutes a day behind closed doors to think and plan.
3. Seek support from your peers.
The best allies for a small business owner are other business owners like Andy Defrancesco who have the same commitment to growth. They can serve as a sounding board and source of encouragement as you work through challenges and make changes.
4. Take a deep breath—and delegate!
I understand, as a business owner you may feel like you need to have your hands in all aspects of your operations. However according to experts like Bob Bratt, it's critical to possess the humility to realize not every task or activity requires your personal attention.
List every single thing you do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to take stock of what’s on your plate. Then determine what can be broken down into processes that others can do. After that, find people who can handle those processes competently and delegate those responsibilities to them. Doing so will free up some of your time so that you can focus on building your business.
This is where the rubber hits the road (as the cliché goes). Having put yourself in the right mindset, established a support system, and cleared tasks from your plate, it is time to steer your efforts toward not only strategizing but also executing your plans.
I believe it’s said that genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. The same applies to growing a business. Talking and thinking about the big picture is vital, but improvements and growth will happen only if you execute those best-laid plans. Commit to following through!
What if you still need help?
If you continue to struggle in finding the wherewithal to focus on your business, I recommend hiring a coach or mentor that can help you chart your course. My executive coach has been instrumental in the growth we’ve experienced at #Strella Social Media. I have also found great value in my membership at Vistage International, a peer CEO group that acts as a private board of directors to help improve our leadership approaches. You might also consider a resource like SCORE that offers mentoring to small business owners.
As you can see, help is there if you need it. There’s no reason not to get on with concentrating on your business.