The importance of taking time out to work on your business instead of in it

It is important to take time out to work on your business instead of being stuck working in it because it allows you to step back and take a more strategic view of what you are doing and how well you are doing it. When you are constantly working in your business, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and operations, which can make it difficult to see the bigger picture. By taking time out, you can gain a clearer understanding of your long-term goals and how to achieve them.

Identify problems, opportunities and inefficiencies

Taking time out to work on your business can help you to identify and address any problems or challenges that you may be facing, as well as identify new opportunities for growth and expansion. It can also help you to identify any inefficiencies in your business processes and make changes to improve efficiency and productivity. There are several ways you can identify inefficiencies in your business processes and make changes to improve efficiency and productivity. Some strategies you can consider include:

  1. Conduct a process analysis: One way to identify inefficiencies in your business processes is to conduct a process analysis. This involves examining each step of your business process in detail to understand how it is currently being carried out and where there may be opportunities for improvement. How easy are your processes to complete? How good is every touch point a customer has with your business – is it good enough because it’s fully optimised or because it’s easier not to review? Really think about whether you’d think it was a good service if you were receiving that service from companies you buy from. 
  2. Involve employees in the process: Your employees may have valuable insights into the inefficiencies in your business processes, so it can be helpful to involve them in the process of identifying and addressing these issues. You can ask for feedback and suggestions from employees, and consider their input as you make changes to your processes. It also helps ensure employees are bought into the changes that you want to make. However, do remember change is often met with resistance until the team see the full benefits. 
  3. Use technology to automate tasks: Automating certain tasks can help to improve efficiency and productivity. Consider using software or other tools to automate tasks that are repetitive or time-consuming, such as data entry or scheduling. This means your team can focus on activities where they add real value such as speaking to customers instead of activities that are boring such as copying and pasting data. It also means customers can be sent updates and documentation much faster and with reduced errors resulting in a double-win for your customers. 
  4. Streamline processes: Another way to improve efficiency and productivity is to streamline your business processes. This might involve eliminating unnecessary steps, consolidating tasks, or simplifying processes to make them more efficient. The technology you use evolves over time and will offer additional flexibility and options for efficiency. It is important to step back and learn what you can implement to get the most value out of your systems. 
  5. Monitor and track progress: Once you have made changes to your business processes, it is important to monitor and track progress to ensure that the changes are having the desired impact. You can use metrics such as productivity and efficiency to measure the success of your changes. Unless you monitor and track progress, you don’t know if the changes you are having the desired effect. 

By following these strategies, you can identify inefficiencies in your business processes and make changes to improve efficiency and productivity.

Focus on the bigger picture and long-term vision

In addition, taking time out to work on your business can help you to stay motivated and energised, as it allows you to focus on the bigger picture and the long-term vision for your business. This can help you to stay committed and motivated to work towards your goals, which can ultimately help your business to thrive and grow. Here are a few ways in which you can use this time to your advantage:

  1. Attend training or workshops: Consider attending training or workshops on topics that are relevant to your business, such as marketing, finance, or leadership and not just traditional CPD. These events can provide valuable insights and help you to develop new skills that you can apply to your business to help it operate more effectively and bring in a consistent stream of work. 
  2. Network with other business owners: Networking with other business owners can be a great way to learn from others who have experience in your industry. You can learn about their successes and challenges, and gain new ideas and perspectives that you can apply to your own business. It could also lead to collaboration where you can provide each other with work. 
  3. Read and stay up-to-date: Keep up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in your industry by reading relevant articles and blogs. This can help you to stay current and informed and can provide new ideas and insights that you can apply to your business.
  4. Seek out mentors: Consider seeking out a mentor or advisor who can provide guidance and support as you work on your business. A mentor can be a valuable resource, helping you to stay on track and providing valuable insights and advice as you develop your skills and knowledge.

Overall, taking time out to work on your business is an important investment in the long-term success and sustainability of your business. Whilst it may feel hard in the short-term to sacrifice a day or two of fee-earning, you will be setting yourself up for medium to long-term success by checking that you are operating as effectively and efficiently as possible for your customers and your business. It’s harder to play catch up later or to be as resilient in tougher times versus those that are taking time to plan. It’s also certainly harder to stay motivated without time to refocus on your goals and why you’re doing what you’re doing. Book out a day each month to spend on your business, reviewing your position and which elements of your business you can improve. This will help you to feel more structured, better able to make decisions and provide you a real sense of direction and achievement day to day.

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