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Entrepreneur – Are you working ON, or IN your business?

By: Ty Shiffler | April 14, 2016

Time is our most valuable asset. People pay incredible amounts of money for a faster computer, a faster phone, or for services that they believe will give them more time. Matter of fact, if you’re not in the business of selling time, you’re probably not in business at all anymore. Every entrepreneur must figure out how their business leverages time, or they will never truly succeed.

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The Entrepreneur Dream

Let me start out by sharing that this article comes from a combination of years of evaluating market behavior, as well as just finishing the book: The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. This book really got me emotionally floored! Why? Because I became an entrepreneur to gain more time, and instead, I find myself falling victim to many of the bad habits that this book discusses. The key here, is that there are millions of things you can sell, but your time shouldn’t be one of them. 

The Problem

Take a look at your business. How often do you find yourself working the basic functions that help the business to operate. You may find yourself doing jobs that you could easily pay a minimum wage employee to do. Why do you do these jobs? Maybe it’s because you don’t feel that it’s in the budget to get another employee, or you believe that “if you want it done right, you need to do it yourself.”

This idea is what we call working “in” your business. You may believe that you’re the boss, but more likely, you’ve made yourself an employee to your own company. You’ve become an employee to the debt, to the work, and even to your other employees. Wake up! This isn’t why you became an entrepreneur! Can you even call yourself that anymore?

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Working ON Your Business

Instead, what changes can be made to help you take a step out of your business. This doesn’t mean you’re not still working, but the work you’re doing shifts towards the development of your company. Imagine if Ray Kroc had spent his time making burgers or taking orders instead of developing the framework of the franchise system. This is the major difference between businesses that become multi-billion dollar brands, and ones that don’t quit make the cut.

An example: before Uber, there was MagicCab. Uber was not a new idea, but they spent their time working on their business, and executing, rather than working in their business and simply believing that their idea would carry them. The idea is worth nothing, and you can easily become a slave to your idea if you do not focus on building a business.

So what can you do to get your business on the right track?

  1. Start with You. You need to make the decision to get out of the day to day activities of your business. Evaluate yourself, and be ready for the change.
  2. Create a System. What “standards” do you set for your business? What steps need to be set in place to reach these “standards?”
  3. Hire the Right People. Getting the right people isn’t just about finding the most skilled labor, that skilled labor can be expensive. Instead, look for employees that match the company culture, and have the drive to learn the best way to do the job.
  4. Training. Training. Training. Define roles within your business, and develop training to bring people in to fill needed rolls.
  5. Throw Out the Wrong People. Sometimes you can to fix things with proper training, but sometimes you need to take out the trash. This can often be the hardest part for many business owners, but for the sake of your business and the other employees, it must be done.
  6. Delegate. You can’t do everything, and you shouldn’t. Once the right people are in place, delegating can be the best choice you ever make. The hardest part is accepting that not everything may be done “as good as you could have done it.”

The Value of Time

Why is this so important? What’s wrong with working in your business? Maybe the work in your business is what you really enjoy. If you truly get joy out of simply working in your business, then by all means ignore what I’ve said.

Most of us become entrepreneurs to achieve freedom. Whether it’s financial freedom, time freedom, or simply the freedom to determine your own destiny, you get to make that choice. When you’re a slave to the time you put into your business, you put a cap on what you can actually achieve.

If you’re a graphic designer charging $75 per hour, you have to put in an hour of work in order to make that $75. When you work ON your business, and build a system that allows you to take a step back… then you have the ability to increase the amount of money you make for the time you put in. This is the only true “unlimited earning potential” opportunity. This is the American Dream. This is being an entrepreneur.

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