A few years ago I worked through a really great book called “The eMyth Revisited” – by Michael E. Gerber. I was lucky enough to get the audible version because I definitely hold onto what I learn more effectively when I listen as opposed to reading. This book really impacted the way that I work on Muletown Digital, and the way that our company serves our clients. There is a whole chapter or section of the book that’s dedicated to the very thought that working IN your business is not the same as working ON your business.
At Muletown Digital, for a long time I was the primary (only) web developer.
I have many years of experience developing custom websites and applications and so by nature, I tended to code a LOT of the projects that we have by hand. About 6 months ago I started to get buried – there were meetings to attend, strategies to think through, clients to connect with, problems to solve, and none of those items pertained to actually coding. I remembered the book I mentioned above and went back and listened to it for a second time. I realized that Muletown Digital had hit the point where it needed me to stop working IN the business so much and start working ON the business.
IN the business means that you’re doing day to day tasks. You’re doing all the things that you usually do. For me that was web development, website tune-ups, maintenance, etc. Then I’d move onto my books, answer emails, do some more coding, etc. The problem with working IN your business is that while you’re IN it nobody is seeing the bigger picture, nobody is working ON it, and after a while, this can become a BIG problem for your company.
When you’re working on your business you’re doing things that often times, only you can do. You’re working on strategy, organization, employee happiness, customer satisfaction, process, procedure, connections, your marketing and SEO plan, etc. You’re working on things that YOU absolutely HAVE to do if you want your business to succeed. These things are very hard to prioritize at the top of the list because they don’t “directly” generate revenue.
So, what often happens to me if I’m being honest, I do things that bring in money first, and then I work on the big picture items. This is something I’m working on in my own journey of owning a business. It’s hard to put things first that seem less important, but the more I do this, the more I realize just HOW important these tasks are, how much attention they really do need, and that they really do actually directly make you money!
Both items are important. You have to be IN the business typically, especially when you’re small like we are. But if you forget to work ON your business you’ll find that your financial ceiling gets lower and lower and that you’ll feel super busy but nothing is actually happening.
I’m writing this really to remind myself more than anything. We need to all take time to work on our companies. For me I’ve started blocking Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for content creation, marketing, website updates (to our own sites), relationship building, and doing things that have potential to lead to HUGE wins for the company. In order to do it we either stack our development to keep me free during those times, or hire out the coding completely (for me to check in later) so that I can focus on the company.
If you’re like us (small and agile), don’t forget to spend time doing the things for your company that only you can do.
It’ll lead to growth and success much faster than balancing your checkbook. Hire out the things you can afford to hire out, free yourself from some of the day to day work, and you’ll start to watch things take off. That’s what we’re seeing here, and we’ve only just begun.
We hope you’ll continue to GO OUT THERE AND WIN!