Yesterday I had a meeting with a woman who started a small business several years ago, which has grown into a successful and thriving consulting practice. (Let’s call my acquaintance ‘Christine.’) Christine’s now at the place where she wants to grow her business- i.e, taking ‘it’ to the next level where she doesn’t have to manage the day-to-day tasks and remain the hub for every single decision that’s made. Her biggest uncertainty was “Where do I even begin? I’m working long hours and don’t have enough revenue to hire more staff. How is it possible… without winning the lottery?” In my opinion, this is a classic startup entrepreneur question. “How can I differentiate between starting the business and becoming the business? Have you asked this before?
In terms of growing, Christine’s stuck in the weeds. She’s unable to think about putting a plan in place where she’ll be able to focus on higher value activities to substantially grow her business (sorry, doing quickbooks at the end of the month doesn’t count as a “high value activity that pushes growth”) There are 3 suggestions that I have to help you think about your game plan to grow your business:
The goal is to get you to work ‘on’ your business and not ‘in’ your business. This means that you’ll be working on overall strategy and high level leadership and executive decisions, rather than focusing on low level (but necessary) tasks like end-of-the-month accounting, running out to buy toilet paper for the office bathroom, or acting as the receptionist. These latter tasks all take away from your ability to focus ‘on’ the business and should be effectively delegated. Read Michael Gerber’s book E-Myth for a truly practical approach for taking your business to the next level. This book helped me think about how to better manage my energy, time and money to grow my business.