Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Importance of Working 'ON' your Business

Do You Really Want to Grow Your Business? Make Time to Work ‘On’ It, Not Just ‘In’ It.

What Owners Tend to Do
As a business owner, what did you have at the top of your to do list today? If you are like most owners, you probably had numerous details to handle, most or all of which fit into the category of ‘urgent.’ But what made those items high priority? By and large, the majority of our daily tasks do not add lasting profit or real value to the business. Typically, we get caught up in small items that seem pressing but do not qualify as genuinely important. We take care of things because they are easy and we can quickly check them off our list, because they are more enjoyable to do, or because they seem time sensitive (but are not necessarily important). At those moments, we are not working on the business, we are working in it.
Working in the business is necessary much of the time, but as an owner you must carve out time to work on it if you are seeking to drive significant growth, profit and value. If you never spend time focusing on where the business is going and how you will get there, you will not maximize the results. You are just treading water.

How you can drive growth
How do you refocus your energies and carve out the time necessary to work on the business more strategically? One very powerful solution is to join a peer advisory group. A peer advisory is a collection of ten or so non-competing owners who get together on a regular basis, along with a professional facilitator, to discuss business issues or opportunities. Their sole mission is to help each other succeed. Owners who commit to this process rank it as one of the best business decisions they ever made.

By their very nature, peer groups create an opportunity to work ‘on’ the business. Your peers can be more objective about your business, and as such, they see your blind spots. They point out when you are focused on your goals and when you are wasting your time. They help to overcome the isolation of being at the top, serve as a sounding board for new ideas, offer practical solutions to business problems from people who have lived them, and create the accountability needed to thrive. Since these groups include other owners like you, they have no vested interest in any one idea. You hear what you really need to hear, not what someone wants you to know because of their own self-interest. What makes peer groups work is the fact that the combined experience of a team of business owners tackling problems is far superior to that of any one individual.

Owning a business is a challenge. For those owners who are truly committed to working on their business and growing their companies, peer groups can be a powerful tool.