How To Get More 'FREE TIME' by Working ‘ON’ Your Business
This information is designed to give you insight into what working ‘ON’ your business can do for your future.
And to clarify the difference.
Imagine this—you’re ‘in’ your business. Literally you’re standing in your premises. You’re answering phones, talking with staff, fighting fires, juggling all the elements of your business at once—marketing, sales, management, operations, staff, finances, cash flow, debtors, creditors, suppliers, and more. You’re extremely busy. You’ve just realised that you forgot to eat lunch again, and someone unexpected has just walked in the door. Unfortunately, that means you’re going to have to spend time with them, instead of doing the salaries or completing that paperwork you really wanted to finish. Oh well,you’ll take it home and do it into the night. And so it goes.
This is working ‘IN’ your business.
You’re in the midst of it, fighting fires, handling everything there is to handle and more—IN your business.
Now picture this instead...
You’ve taken 4 steps back from your business and you’re looking at it objectively, saying ‘OK, that’s my business over there, now what do I want to do with it?’
‘Apart from me, what will this business do? How will it be? What do I want it to be like? What does it need to do to give me my life, to free me up from working in it all the time?’
Imagine your business as a lump of clay. What would you mold it into? What would make it perfect for you, and perhaps for someone else?
This is working ' ON' your business
Just thinking about it, you can sense the huge difference this could make. Imagine taking some time away from day-to-day tasks and looking at your business in the long term. Imagine the ideas or opportunities you might spot!
Working ‘on’ your business is the difference between your business providing you with a job OR immense wealth and satisfaction.
Creating ‘the way we do it here’
Most people work IN their business. However, the secret is to work ON your business so that you don’t have to work in it.
What does “working ON it” mean? Simply developing key systems—systems for everything!
A number of things happen when you systematise processes. First, YOU don’t have to do the process. Second, others less skilled than you can do it. Third, when you systematise, you automatically develop what we call ‘a way of doing it here.’
That ‘way of doing it here’ not only makes things happen in a totally predictable way, it also makes your business worth much more. Why? Because you have a way of doing it here.
Think about this concept by comparing a local hamburger joint to McDonald’s. In which would you rather own shares? McDonald’s, most likely. Why? Is it because McDonald’s makes better hamburgers? Probably not. You’d take those shares because it works like clockwork, it works so you don’t have to. McDonald’s has a ‘way of doing it here.’
It’s a different way of thinking and it depends on the systems of operation. We’ll be talking about the impact of applying those thought processes and those systems to your business.
To do that, we’re going to draw upon the work of some extraordinary thinkers, among them, Steven R. Covey and Michael E. Gerber. Fortunately, both have committed their thoughts to writing so we can explore and develop them better.
Let’s start with Covey. In his brilliant book, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People (Fireside 1990), he discusses the theory of going back to ‘first principles’—to understanding and practising integrity and ethics.
One of the most incisive chapters in the book is Chapter 3. It’s entitled ‘Begin with the End in Mind.’ In other words, whenever you start some process, understand exactly what the end point is—before you start.
Think about that in the context of a business. How many of us actually do that? How many of us actually begin with the end in mind?
Very few. Most of us jump into business and before you know it are so ‘busy’ have no time to think about where the business is going, how it will be shaped, and what it will be like the day we retire or sell it!
The difference that kind of thinking makes is absolutely profound.
Let’s take those two different hamburger businesses as an example.
When Ray Kroc founded McDonald’s or, rather, when the two McDonald brothers gave him the rights to it, he had absolutely no intention of working behind a counter. In fact, he never even made a hamburger.
Contrast that with the person who runs a typical hamburger place. He’s doing it, doing it, and doing it, every day, day in and day out.
And that’s precisely because he didn’t begin with the end in mind. He set up a business that depended on his doing it, doing it, doing it. His only vision was of ordering the goods to make the hamburgers, doing the stock control, frying the fries, grilling the burger, buttering the buns, wrapping it all up, taking the money, and then counting it, hoping to hell that he makes ends meet at the end of the day.
Ray Kroc began with a different end in mind. He envisioned literally thousands of McDonald’s stores around the world, each doing exactly the same thing in a totally predictable manner. Knowing that, he knew he wouldn’t be able to work in them, hence they would have to work without him!
Take a minute to get inside Ray Kroc’s head. This is how he started thinking—how he began with the end in mind. He said to himself:
“I’m going to have hamburger stores that do the same thing in a totally predictable manner. What do I have to do to make that possible?”
He then developed processes and systems structured around how to hire people, the colour the restaurants should be, the way a restaurant should be managed, right down to the way they should heat their buns.
All of this occurred by carefully going over detail after nitty-gritty detail. In doing that, he developed the perfect little money-making machine—something others would pay a high price to get.
Now, compare that with the way that most people go into business. As Michael Gerber points out in his first book, The E Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It (Harperbusiness 1995), it’s a myth to even suggest that most businesses are started by entrepreneurs. Michael puts it this way—most businesses are started by a person suffering from an entrepreneurial seizure.
Think about how true that is. The hairdresser who’s working for a hairdresser gets fed up working for a boss and opens a hairdressing salon and, in so doing, she creates a worse job for herself.
Where, in the past, she used to go home on Friday and enjoy the weekend, now she’s doing the books, thinking about the new advertising campaign, paying payroll tax, getting involved with the fact that one employee doesn’t like working with the other and vice-versa, worrying about what her prices should be, and worrying that a new salon just opened across the street.
What was once a 40-hour-a-week job has now turned into an 80-hour-a-week grind.
This doesn’t happen only to hairdressers—the butcher opens a butcher shop, the plumber opens a plumbing business, the auto mechanic opens a car repair shop, and so on.
Instead of creating a business that works, we create a business that is us. A business that often becomes all-consuming. And worse yet, when it all becomes too much, we sell our most precious asset for far less than it would have been worth if we had started with the end in mind.
Gerber has a way of saying things about that process. He conjures up phrases that affect you like a bullet because of the way they tell the absolute and direct truth. Here’s what he has to say about the process described above:
“Most people work IN their business. The secret is NOT to work in it, it’s to work ON it so that you don’t have to work in it.”
We’ll come back to that time and time again. The secret is not to work IN your business, it’s to work ON it so that you don’t have to work IN it.
Imagine if you could do that. Imagine your life if you could do that and, if that’s not a vivid enough picture, imagine what your business would be like. Absolute order replacing confusion and bewilderment.
Working ON, not working IN—it’s a major, major key, isn’t it?
But, let’s go a little further and deeper. To do that, consider the true purpose of any business.
Once you get the thought processes of beginning with the end in mind, the true purpose comes out. The purpose of a business is to create life. Life for whom? Life for you and for the people with whom you interact.
Yet, so often the reality is that a business doesn’t create life. It gradually takes away the life we had. Our business becomes our life.
That’s nothing short of a tragedy. We don’t see our kids and our families. We don’t create life. We let it ebb away.
It really doesn’t have to be that way. There really is another path.
To find it, let’s go back to Steven Covey. Think about this: If we really can begin with the end in mind, then when we apply that to our businesses, it means that the business must have an end point. That is, there must be a point when we can stand back and say, “Now it’s finally done.”
At that point, we can choose to keep it or we can choose to sell it. In fact, suppose we planted this thought in your head to help you begin with the end in mind.
Suppose we said that the purpose of creating a business was to sell it (whether or not you wanted to). When you start to think that way, you start to create different pictures and processes.
When you sell it, you’re handing over the key to a perfect little money-making machine worth many times more, simply because you thought about and developed the systems, you thought about and developed the structure, and you thought about and developed the processes.
You know exactly what the return on investment is. You know exactly what it’s worth and, above all, you know that it’s independent of you. It’s not your life. You’ve developed a business that you’re a part of, yet you’re still apart from it.
To do this, we need to get the systems and the processes right.
We do have the choice—to build a business that works rather than a business that consumes our life.
Creating systems is part of taking that choice.
The sooner you start doing so, the sooner you’ll be free to choose to work in your business all day long if you prefer, but at this point, it will be a choice rather than a must!
In summary, if you're an ambitious business owner looking to boost your current results or if you're looking to get your business off to a flying start we invite you to contact us today. You can expect practical business, tax, marketing and financial advice that could have a profound effect on your future business profits. To book your FREE, one hour introductory consultation simply call us on (03) 9326 1244 or complete your details in the box at the top of this page and we will be in touch.
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