Running a business is challenging. There is always something coming at you.
Even when you try to plan ahead, it seems like something pops up that you could not expect. In short, leaders find themselves regularly buried in daily minutia. What they often fail to do is set aside time to work on their business.
Do you want to grow your business, destress your life, and reach goals? If so, what I am suggesting will be the best time you spend every week. What am I referring to? Setting aside a specific time every week to work on your business.
Do you regularly set aside a specific amount of time every week to think deeply, strategize, and plan how your business can grow, have a greater impact, and make more money?
If not, you should. By doing so, you will discover multiple benefits. Read below to discover a few of those benefits.
Getting clarity is hard. Keeping clarity is harder. As an executive coach, I find myself almost every week helping clients regain clarity.
We talk. They commit to a forward path. We meet. They have drifted off mission. They need to get back on the right path to accomplish what they desire.
Staying on mission does not happen automatically. It requires regular focused attention to evaluate when, what, and how you work. Doing this takes time. It requires a consistent time to assess your current course, make sure you are following the right pathway, and staying on that pathway. At any moment, something or someone can derail you.
Setting aside regular time to reaffirm your clarity and evaluate your current path makes it easier to gain and keep clarity.
Insights normally occur when you are not focusing on the daily constraints of running a business. Some of your best ideas might appear while you are cutting the lawn, taking a shower, or just taking a walk.
If great creativity occurs during your “downtime,” why not purposely plan “downtime” to think creatively about your company.
I encourage leaders to plan at least a half day, if not a full day, every week to step away from the daily grind so they can think deeply. It’s best to get away from the office during this time.
Go to a park. Take a hike in the woods. Get away from your day to day world.
Although this may feel unproductive, it actually becomes some of the most productive time you can spend each week.
Sometimes, a very small tweak in your business model creates huge results. Why not give this a try? Set aside time weekly to think deeply about the biggest problem you currently face. What is the real issue? What solutions can you develop? Which solution will provide the best options? How are you going to test or implement it?
If you want to address real problems in an efficient manner, you have to stop the train long enough to give these matters serious thought.
Creativity is more valuable than most people think. Some people are naturally creative. The rest of us have to work at it. Creativity requires concentrative thought. Concentrative thought takes time. That’s precisely why you must set aside regular time to work on your business.
Why not schedule in your calendar a consistent block of time to think creatively? Force yourself to think “outside the box.” What can you do that you are not currently doing that will help your business grow or run more efficiently?
Thinking creatively is extremely valuable.
As I coach, I typically ask new clients three initial questions:
How much do you want to make?
How much do you want to work?
Where are you most profitable? (Many business owners don’t know)
If a business, certain products or services are more profitable than others. Once they know that area, strategize how you can increase opportunities in that area.
Not too long ago I was talking with a tradesman. I quickly discovered that his most profitable area of work was ceramic tile. He said, “If I do ceramic tile, I can make $1,000 per day.” I responded by asking, “Are you good at doing it? And, do you like doing it?” He said, “Yes.” I closed my time with him by asking, “And why are you not doing more ceramic work?”
You see, by choosing what work he does, he can increase his profit. He still intends to do other jobs, but he plans on marketing his skills primarily in the area of ceramic tile. By doing so, he will greatly increase his profitability. He will make more money without having to increase his time.
Discover where you are most profitable. Brainstorm how you can increase the amount of work you do in that area. That one decision will make you more money.
Running a business creates a lot of stress. Much of that stress comes from trying to do things we do not do well.
Give thought to your strengths and abilities. Work mostly in your areas of strength.
When you work in your strengths, it doesn’t feel like work. You are good at those things, and they come easily to you.
Working in areas of weakness is hard and exhausting. Many leaders unknowingly place themselves in areas of weakness. They don’t like those areas, and they are not good at them.
Take some time this week to give thought to what you like doing and what you are good at doing.
Take time to evaluate what you currently do in your company. You might discover that you are working way too much in areas of weakness.
Set aside time to arrange what you do in your strengths. You will enjoy those areas more, help your business grow, and reduce your stress.
Although it is hard, set aside each week to work on your business. That time will very likely become the most valuable part of your week.
Most people work hard. It’s better to work smart!
Dave Pennington PhD