When It’s Time to Work On Your Business, Not In Your Business

When It’s Time to Work On Your Business, Not In Your Business

One of my favorite reminders that I have repeatedly shared with entrepreneurs over the years is to remember to spend time working ON your business and not just IN your business.

Being a small business owner puts you square in the crosshairs of finding yourself doing everything on any given day in order to make your business run successfully. So much so, that it has the ability to become all consuming – either out of necessity to survive or just plain unplanned success.

In both cases, seeing the forest for the trees often takes a back seat to sustaining your business and the chances for long-term success can be compromised. So how do you know when it’s time to take a step back?

Here are five warning signs that you may be working too much IN your business and not enough ON your business:

1. You Aren’t Questioning Enough

Being a state where you are simply moving from project to project mode, is cause for concern. It can’t be all about just getting the work done, leaving you no time for anything else.

2.You Aren’t Listening Enough

You’ve stopped relying on those who are working with or for you for insights and ideas. It’s not healthy to think you must have all of the answers to every problem that surfaces.

3.You Want to Control Everything

Wanting to control everything including the outcomes is bad. You keep telling yourself that if you just do this and just do that you will get the desired results without recognizing which variables are in your control and which are not.

4.You Can’t Admit When You’re Wrong

The ability to admit you were wrong is no longer there. Or maybe you’ve become too attached to your ideas. Or maybe a strong sense of perseverance won’t let you stop – even when what you’re becomes unrealistic and unsustainable.In either situation, the result is ultimately the same. The big picture is lost. And you escalate your commitment to following a path that is leading you in circles instead of moving you forward.

5.You’re Too Busy

In the past two weeks, you’ve said,  “I just don’t have the time to do anything else!” more than once. And you’ve started to rationalize NOT taking the time to do other things. This is a clear sign that you have started down a path of potential misfires and bad decisions.

If you find that you have experienced one or more of these warning signs recently, do yourself and your business a favor and stop! Take a half-day for yourself and get out of your own way. Spend time away from your office and business. Think about where you want your business to be in 3 months, 6 months, a year. Dust off that business plan and see how close you are to the plan with your current state of affairs.

Mark Dobosz is theExecutive Director of The National Creditors Bar Association (NARCA), which serves law firms in the practice of creditors rights law. He's spent 35 years in leadership roles for not-for-profit organizations including development, marketing, public relations, community and government relations operations and teaching. Mark has helped raise more than $30 million for the organizations he has served. See Mark Dobosz's full bio here.