“Flying the Plane while Repairing and Building it”
In order to jump 100 feet further ahead, we have to take 100 steps backward. Like a slingshot, the more you pull it back, the further you launch the object. If you bend your knees down, you’ll spring upward higher and reach a new jumping height. Similarly, we can apply the same principle with our business to gain what we ultimately call “leverage.” We do this by simultaneously working “in” our business as well as “on” our business.
Working “on” our business means firing ourselves from as much $12 an hour work as possible. We can liken this to a race car mechanic… We work “on” our engine, building systems so others can take control without error. We call this maintenance time. This time is used to delegate systematic actions, like processes in written form and in hard infrastructure form, to automate a series of steps for others to follow.
If no time is ever prioritized toward these efforts, we fall into the fallacy of “too busy being busy to doing something about being busy,” which amounts to a continuity of nothing changing.
Let’s say it takes you ten hours to drive from point A to point B at an average of 60 miles per hour. If you want to get there in half the time, the above strategy would say “drive twice as fast.”
Would you actually get there in half the time? Of course not. You’d be stopped by several patrol people… Probably arrested. You may never get there at all, and would probably get hurt in a serious accident. Yet, that’s the approach most of us want to take. Wrong (maybe you should just hop on a plane)!
That approach results in stress, burnout, frustration, and despair (just like the driver going 120mph, people get hurt).
Entrepreneurs need to create a system full of statistics they can live by. Otherwise, how do they ever have peace of mind, confidence, and the stability to chase an even bigger, bolder dream?
The value of maintenance time is in its ability to yield opportunities to work ON your business. It is your vehicle, your channel for regaining freedom and positioning your business for maximum freedom.
In his seminal book, The E Myth, small business consultant Michael Gerber proclaims the importance of working on your business – not just in it. That’s the point of the LAW OF THE SHORT REVERSE. It works like this: before a successful system launches a new direction or initiative, it intentionally takes a short, preparatory step in the opposite direction of its ultimate goal.
- Before the quarterback throws the ball downfield, he must first step back into the backfield to give himself sufficient time to make his throw
- Before you jump up, you first crouch down to put “spring” in your legs
- Before you can go south as you enter a freeway from the east, you must first go north on the cloverleaf
- Before you go to a party (a social function), you groom (a solitary function)
- Before quickly getting from point A to point B (instead of driving), it would require waiting at the airport and waiting on the runway before you moved forward at all (meanwhile, the guy in the car has a head start on you!)
“HLP Coaching Clients” constantly practice this breakthrough business strategy (members of our coaching program systematically rebuild their businesses using this strategy).
The Strategist Always Makes More Money Than The Mere “Doer”
This is because we’re going to spend more time ON your business than in it. Imagine trying to move a large object with a long stick – a lever. You must step away from the object you want to move in order to get leverage. Are you working too hard? Are you doing things the same way you did them in the past? Do you spend enough time working on your business – not just in it?
Create a game plan for working ON your business now!
Look at What You’re Doing
Extract an average week out of your calendar from the last 90 days and look at where you spent your time. How much time did you spend working on the business?
Create a Schedule
Get the bull by the horns, not the tail. What’s scheduled gets done. Time blocking is a technique for gaining momentum. Instead of working on your business for an hour, block out a day, or half-day. The ground you’ll gain from a successive time period committing your passion and innovative thinking to improving a process will be significant. Get your team involved instead of giving them marching orders to follow. They tend to buy into systems they help create. Get them involved at the ground floor, so they have a proprietary orientation to the company that cultivates a sense of ownership, responsibility, and creativity. Carry out a series of monthly meetings over 6 months to nurture the long-term process of reflection.
The schedule should enhance workflow, not interrupt or interfere with it. This way, you don’t have to pay extra for additional work hours, and the leverage gained from the experience will cost justify with greater efficiencies for the bottom line.
If I Only, But…
You may be asking, “How do I find the time to work ON my business with so many other important things to handle? I don’t have the time… Or if I only had the time, I would!”
Answer: Just do it. Because it’s important, you make the time. Make it happen because it’s a high priority, as well as the path to freedom and growth.
It’s Like Flying a Plane and Building it at the Same Time
“Huh? What? Flying and building all at once, but that’s impossible!” you may be saying to yourself. But in business, it’s the way things need to be done – or you’ll continue to be locked at this level of business growth, frustrated by the continuity of the same.
How Do I Plan What I Don’t Know Anything About?
Answer: You will know, you just haven’t revealed it to yourself until you act upon your plan. You’ll innovate, implement, study, benchmark, then adjust… Then repeat the process with modified plans. You do this until you build a stable system that statistically hits an expected result, every single time, if carried out well. You assume everything is practice, and you rely on fast feedback from past results, like a personal school. You develop less than perfect systems and employ a learning mentality to use mistakes as your teacher.
Make your cause greater than your threat. In other words, your ability to learn is favored over your frustration with a setback. This ability to get back up after a fall is the critical crossover point that leads to either a winning outcome or a withdrawal of effort. Use your Thomas Edison perseverance. Look at your marketing, sales, and service models. Look at your HR game plan, your financial dimension, and management protocols. What needs immediate attention, and what areas of optimization could provide immediate financial stimulation or relief?
Select 1 or 2 processes a week to document into a how-to-guide, and grow your ability to improve the quality of your systems. It’s a non-stop effort.
Again, everything is practice.
Over a period of time, you’ll begin to notice a dramatic increase in confidence. By committing your attention to working on your business, your staff will be able to please you with systems they can follow, like a playbook to win every single time. Your clients will happily accept delivery of greater value. Your competition will fear you. Most of all, you’ll be able to experience the freedom from $12 an hour work that sucks you dry of your best abilities and most attractive qualities.
One of the often invisible blessings of this process is how you use a different type of business money – equity. You’re actually acting on behalf of an organic exit strategy (selling your business) when you work on it. The more autopilot your business is (like a franchise), the more worth it has for a potential acquisition.
Think Equity, Not Income
Most entrepreneurs spend their days thinking about how to radically increase sales. They spend radical amounts of time attending to getting sales up. At the end of the day, they try to assess how a given day turned out by tracking income… But very few entrepreneurs give the same level of thought to time invested vs. return on value or equity – something I call “Balance Sheet Time.”
Income is temporary and perishable. Value and equity can be built to last.
How can you create value and equity?
- Increase your systems
- Increase your skills
- Increase your client base, retention, and repurchase frequency levels
- Increase your team’s commitment and retention
- Increase your hard owned assets and technology
- Increase your financial investments
- Increase your free time (it forces you to do the first 6 to take the time off )
You need to simultaneously work on income and equity activities to become wealthy.