Working On Your Business, Not Just In Your Business

The number one reason the average Kiwi business isn’t ready to sell? Because its owners are so busy working in the business that they’re spending almost no time working on it. Just last week some new clients admitted that they had worked with a business strategist but the poor strategist gave up after six months because they kept cancelling the meetings.

Why? Well, it wasn’t because they had the strategy all figured out and running smoothly, that’s for sure. They cancelled the meeting because they were busy dealing with customers and effectively filling orders. I guess it’s better than ignoring customers and failing to fill orders, but in general it’s pretty short-term thinking. It’s the equivalent of drinking a coffee every time you feel hungry and never stopping to cook dinner.

There needs to be a way for you to keep your customers happy, fill orders, and still have some time to work on your business. In some ways, it seems that the harder it is for you to find time to strategise, the more essential it is for your company.

How does strategic planning and structuring get overlooked when it’s so important? I believe there are three main reasons:

  1. It’s not urgent. There are always more urgent jobs that need to be done. Strategic planning keeps being sifted to the bottom of your to-do list by more pressing matters.
  2. It’s not easy. Dealing with a routine, but urgent, problem usually requires you only to use your day-to-day skills at your normal level of effort. Strategic planning is full of difficult questions that aren’t easy to answer and the solutions can be both complex and expensive in the short term, even if they’re a no-brainer in the long term.
  3. It’s not a quick win. Most jobs on your to-do list can be crossed off in a very satisfying way once completed. Strategic planning and implementation, on the other hand, is never finished and can take years to pay off. It doesn’t give you any instant gratification.

Strategic planning falls into the same category as other regular activities that aren’t urgent, easy or quick – like healthy eating, saving for retirement and exercising. You’ll notice that these are the types of long-term strategies that pay dividends in the future or gradually over time. They’re not necessarily fun, but they’re good for us. They keep us healthy, and secure, in the future.

That’s what strategic planning does for your business: keeps it healthy and secure into the future. That’s what makes it valuable and saleable. So don’t let it get sifted down your to-do list every month – make the time and you’ll thank yourself.