Working on over working in. Work smarter, not harder. Have you heard either of these in business? They are not cliché and are actually related.
When you choose to work on your business, you are dedicating your time to working smarter. (Tweet this) Working smarter doesn’t mean lowering prices, increasing profits, or churning out more widgets. It’s not about doing more with less, either.
Working on, similarly isn’t about working out how to increase sales, profits or decreasing costs. These things are all about working in your business.
So what’s my point?
As an owner of two businesses, I have had to establish some clear systems to allow me to meet my obligations. With a family to go with these business obligations, I like some flexibility. This is where I have started to work smarter. This doesn’t mean that, at times, I have to work hard.
What have I done?
In the past year I have implemented a number of changes in how I run my businesses, which allow me to grow my income, reduce the time I spend working in my business, and increase the time I can spend with my family. (And I haven’t increased prices or decreased costs)
Last year, I implemented six-monthly reviews of my business goals and broader activity. I track my income and expenses as they occur (but this is working in), however, I also monitor them against the broader goals I set. This review allows me to see where I am meeting (or exceeding my aims) and also where I need to change.
In my business, ‘working on’ has two arms: education and systems.
As a business owner, I find it difficult to put work aside and spend time on myself. However, it is exactly when I spend time developing my knowledge that I receive the greatest benefit in my business. (Tweet this) When I read, I am either developing myself or I am developing my business knowledge. In the past 12 months I have read and learnt from: Get Rich Lucky Bitch (Denise Duffield-Thomas), The Big Leap (Gay Hendricks), Thrive (Arianna Huffington), and Tribes (Seth Godin). I also read a number of blogs, including, Make it Look Easy, Leonie Dawson, and Marie Forleo (plus those whose books I have read).
I have learnt more about goal setting, planning, self-assurance, self-care, and self-love. All of these have helped me grow as a person and as a business owner, but not one of them has directly resulted in an increase in cash flow. They have all been about working ‘on’ me and my business and it is how I have implemented the learning which has resulted in financial growth.
The thing I love most about this growth is that I can then apply it to my business. If I feel more self-confident then I am more likely to make the system changes my business needs.
When I change the systems in my business, I gain time that I can then spend on myself, my business, or my family. There are large system changes and small system changes. Here are a few that I have made and profited from over the past year.
Reverse engineering my time
As I said earlier, running two businesses is taxing. The biggest system change I have made is to reverse engineer my week. I used to be reactionary or first in first out before I started Write to Right (my second business). As a result of starting Write to Right I had to make drastic changes to how I handled my time. I work backwards from when work is due, include other obligations, free time, and some contingency time (because let’s face it we get sick). Now, this does not mean I take all of this time to do the work; in fact, I am more likely to finish the work earlier. What reverse engineering allows is for me to feel less pressured when things go wrong and for me to value my time for myself and my family.
A recent review of my accounts and time input into the business lead me to change my accounting systems. This has meant a simpler way for customers to pay invoices and a more automated accounting process on my end. So not am I not working harder, I am no longer busy working in my business collecting debts.
I recently needed to update my website, but realised that I needed to change the entire platform on which it was built. So I outsourced it! There is a misconception in small business that:
– we must do everything we are capable of (and I certainly was)
– outsourcing is expensive, and
– outsourcing is a luxury.
They’re all wrong. While I knew how to change the platforms, I also knew that by outsourcing it, it would be faster and allow me more time for other activities.
So, how will you work on your business in 2015? What will you do to work smarter? 2015 is my year of growth, so I will continue to learn. Growth isn’t always inwards, so I will be growing and sharing what I know with all of you. The first is a series of facilitated courses with practical tasks that will give you knowledge you can implement (straight away). After this I will be working towards my ebooks/workbooks and videos; these will push my boundaries, help me to grow, and allow me to meet my goal of helping you to grow your business.