Starting a business is a huge commitment. Keeping it running and turning a profit is an even bigger accomplishment. However, many business owners face burn-out or worse, bankruptcy or foreclosure, before they’re able to pay back their business loans let alone make a profit. This is largely due to owners feeling like they have to be responsible for every tiny detail of their daily operations. 

As a business owner, it’s important to evaluate what you’re spending your time on. Are most of your daily tasks focused on keeping your company operating for that day? Are they working on projects for your clients/customers? If your tasks aren’t focused on strategies to grow your business and bring in more revenue, then you’re working IN your business.

Working IN your business means you’ve taken on everything from customer service to sales to ordering office supplies. When there are only 24 hours in a day, it’s impossible to do all of that and work ON your business! That’s where outsourcing and delegating come in.

Yes, these words can provoke anxious feelings; they make business owners feel like they’ll have to give up control or that it’ll be costly. But chances are, you started the business to do what you love and yet, when your day is filled with the nitty-gritty, it’s sucking valuable time away from you to actually do that. 

Think about what your definition of “success” is. When you dreamed about starting a business, what did it look like to you? You probably imagined your company earning more than six figures a year, so what are the owners of million-dollar companies doing? Are they posting marketing content online? Are they emailing back and forth with someone to get a meeting set on their calendar? Probably not. They’re brainstorming ways to grow their company and increase their flow of revenue. They have employees and contractors working IN their business so they have time to work ON it.

Start by dividing your daily/weekly/ monthly responsibilities into low-value and high-value task lists. A low-value task is necessary to the business’s operation, but it doesn’t expand the company, like organizing your CRM. A high-value task is that which directly works to bring the company more revenue, such as developing a new facet of the company. Take an honest evaluation of what you’re spending most of your time on and then decide if that’s something an assistant could do for you. 

Business owners want to save costs where they can, but it’s absolutely necessary to invest more money in help if it adds value to your time. For example, if you work with a client at $100/hour and you spend $40/hour on an assistant to take care of minor responsibilities, you’ve gained a significant amount of time to focus solely on your client while still making a profit. Similarly, if you’re able to gain a new client thanks to the time your assistant has saved you, that’s a significant increase in profit too. 

As a leader and proprietor, it’s important that you stay focused on big-picture planning and growth. Delegating the smaller jobs frees you up to prioritize development without overloading yourself. If you want your company to grow and thrive, you have to think like someone who already has their ideal business and work ON your business instead of IN it.

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