Are you working IN or ON your business?

23rd October 2018

Working IN your business?

I have seen so many SME businesses over the years and have first-hand experience of the importance of balancing work ON and work IN a business.

I’m fascinated by business growth and development and have seen this done fantastically, as well as badly. I have witnessed this as I have worked in my own business and worked for/with many others. You can interchange words to suit any situation e.g. the word customer can mean client, the “service” can also relate to a product. You can also apply this to departments within large organisations, or fundamental changes to what you deliver, almost as though you were running a new business. Regardless, the cycles are broadly the same.

When a business is in start-up mode there is an emphasis on Directors and Managers working IN the business – it’s all hands on deck as the business lurches from crisis to crisis, usually quite erratically. As time passes some “good” practice emerges, with less frantic like behaviours and things eventually begin to calm. Short term lessons learnt are noted and start to become embedded, the customer experience improves and the staffing tends to settle.

At this stage there’s a tendency to accept that is how the business will run.

You are still IN the business, still doing and still reacting. Businesses vary hugely time wise to get to this stage, from a few months to a few years. However, as you reach the settled stage of the business the clever thing to do is then to work ON your business.

Working ON your business?

Working ON your business is a whole new level of business activity that may feel alien at first. I know it did to me when I first did it. It’s about taking the breathing space to reflect. Here are a few ideas on how to do it;

LOOK BACK – Start with taking a look back at where your business started and where you are now, appreciate the journey. Ask yourself have I achieved what I set out to do? Does the business deliver what I said it would? What lessons did we learn/what have I changed?

TAKE STOCK – Next take stock of where you are right now. Appreciate your customers and staff. Are you delivering what customers want? Do you know what they expect/need/want? Do we have the right staff in the right jobs with the right skills? Do staff have a work life balance? What’s my staff retention ratio?

LOOK FORWARD – Next look to your future and think long term about future-proofing your business. Who are your competition – what else are they offering their staff and their customers that’s better? What other income streams can I achieve using the same resources? Can I sustain this business long term or do we need to evolve? Are we making best use of technology?

The result will be a whole new outlook and awareness about you and your business. Reflection is such a powerful habit to instill, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Some people naturally reflect and it’s second nature, some people need to plan to do it.

You may need support…

One way to reflect on the “people” in your business is to start a conversation with people like me, as a Client Partner at Chwarae Teg. We specialise in business reflection through a staff engagement survey and benchmarking your business against the FairPlay Employer Award levels.

Working ON your business and putting your staff at the heart of it, will allow your teams to develop and you will see fantastic “stuff” start to happen. This affects the client/customer experience and eventually your bottom line.

Are you ready?

Let us take a look, as a fresh pair of eyes and help you reflect on your people systems. We ensure gender equality is at the heart of everything we do and love meeting businesses ready to work with us. Claim your funded consultancy package and get your reflection started to work ON your business.

Get in touch / 0300 365 0445