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15th August, 2023

How to work on your business — not in it — to grow exponentially

Business owners often say, ‘I know I should be working on the business, rather than in the business, but what I should be working on?!?’ 

Here are four tips to help you identify what tasks you should be working on now so that you can build a valuable business.  

Move from the ‘Technician’ zone to the ‘Owner’ zone

If you were to tell me you’re in the Top 100 of your industry, I would say ‘Congratulations!’ but I would also say ‘I’m so sorry,’ because that is not a position you want to occupy.

Being good at what you do is not necessarily the goal, because your identity and ego is caught up in delivering the service, when you should be focused on building the business.

Grow your business

To achieve business growth, you must quickly shift from being a technician to becoming an owner.

This transition will present challenges and push you to confront new responsibilities, but if you truly desire business growth, you must transcend the technician role, step away from the day-to-day management of the business, and fundamentally change the way you operate. 

Until this happens, you will still be working in the business and not in it. 

Know the difference between urgent and important

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, once said, ‘I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.’  

Entrepreneurs often prioritise ‘urgent’ over ‘important’ because they are addicted to the adrenaline rush (also known as ‘the dopamine trap’) that comes with completing something in the nick of time.

But here’s the thing: successful business owners spend 95% of their time on the ‘important but not urgent tasks; this is the ‘dream room,’ where all the strategy planning, personal development, problem solving, self-care and goal setting takes place. 

Starting a business

Unsuccessful business owners, however, fall into the trap of getting stuck in the ‘urgent and important’ zone.

This zone is filled with deadlines, crises, last minute tasks and emergencies.  This is what’s called working in the business. 

It’s the ‘important but not urgent’ tasks that will increase the value of your business, so schedule those first and get them done before doing anything else.

Do first things first

If you really want to exponentially build your business, use the best part of your day to get the most important things done. 

I was always exhausted while writing my book, How to Build a Business Others Want to Buy.

I was in the middle of selling my business, managing a team of seventy people, working with clients, restoring a heritage boat, and taking care of my family.

I was busy, but I also knew that writing my book was important; it wasn’t urgent, but it was important. I also knew that if the writing didn’t get done first thing on a Monday morning, the demands of work would take over and it would not get done at all.

Do first things first to ensure the important things get done.

schedule your day with a calendar

Schedule your day the night before

If you want to create a valuable business now, you need to be thinking five or ten years in advance. 

You can’t just turn up to work, sit at the desk and wait and see what happens.

You’ll need to audit your work to ensure each activity contributes to the greater goal. 

Set the goals for the week, diarise what you need to do, and don’t let others matters get in the way. 

Mastering the art of working on your business, rather than in it, is essential for achieving exponential growth.

By understanding the distinction between urgent and important tasks, dedicating time to strategic activities, scheduling your day in advance and transitioning from being a technician to an owner, you will be empowered to drive growth and unlock the full potential of your business.

Kobi Simmat is a self-taught expert in business management, advisory services, and the founder of Best Practice Biz. He achieved a $20 million valuation and then a successful sale of his business and now helps others unlock the full potential of their businesses. Download your free chapter of his new book, How to Build a Business Others Want to Buy.