Working “ON” the Business, Not “In” It
I have done exactly what I have been telling my clients NOT to do. I’ve been working “in” my business, not “on” my business.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. I started out writing a post 3 times per week, then 2x/week, then 1x/week, then 2x/month, then 1x/month, then….. nothing. Nothing for over 8 months.
I’ve been busy working on delivering exceptional value for my clients. Yes, that’s true, but it’s also an excuse.
I’ve slipped into the same mentality so many CEOs, including some of my clients, slip into. There is so much to do working “in” the business – fires to put out, meetings to attend, deliverables to be met, and so much travel. It’s all very important but it doesn’t build premium value.
Yes, you need to do these activities to keep the lights on, hit the quarterly revenue number, get the needed talent to meet the needs of the customers and the product roadmap. But like I tell my clients, that just builds your company’s value to meet the industry average for a revenue multiple. It doesn’t build value that allows you to sell your company for a premium.
To do that you have to work “on” the business. These are the strategic components. They tend to be long term and they’re definitely not reactive. And it’s hard work.
With so much on my plate (and yours), I didn’t want to take on another project, even if it will help me in the long run. I wanted to be reactive. It’s simpler. It’s easier. I grew comfortable in my routine, even if I was nervous about the future.
So I ignored the fact that I was not working “on” my business until I reached a point where I wasn’t sleeping at night, thinking about the problems this might be creating for me.
These were some of the questions I was asking myself. Maybe you’re asking yourself something similar?
Is the strategy complete, explicit, and broadly understood?
Do we have a marketing program to maximize position in the industry?
Are we spending $ on the right things?
Will the organization plan scale?
Do we have the right people in the right positions?
Do our processes work for speed and results?
We love our culture. How well will it execute?
Can we protect, and increase, our valuation?
How do we know we are on track?
How do we grow beyond initial aspirations?
Of course I’m not able to answer my own questions in the middle of the night. Then it dawned on me (around sunrise, pun intended), that I needed to work “on” my business to answer my questions.
It turns out I wasn’t doing the work because I was afraid. I was afraid of the work. I was afraid of what I might learn. The other part, being busy, was just an excuse.
What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do, says productivity guru Tim Ferriss.
As Tim explains in the article linked above, if you ask yourself the questions, “To do or not to do? To try or not to try?”, most people will vote no, whether they consider themselves brave or not. Uncertainty and the prospect of failure can be very scary noises in the shadows, and most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.
I was definitely in that camp. I realized I was voting “no” to working on my business.
So this blog post is a part of my voting “yes”, I will work on my business.
Face your fears. Spend time on what will build value in your company, on what will allow you to sell your company for a premium.
If you’re wondering how you build a company that you can sell for a premium, contact me to discuss the Valuation Amplification Process.
I also invite you to download the white paper and learn the 5 step process on How to Quickly Increase Your Valuation: a Proven 5 Step Process.