How to see the bigger picture
It is vital to take the time to regularly step out of your business so you can work on it as well as in it, because that will enable your business to grow, says business mentor and entrepreneur Emma Warren.
Taking time out from your business will enable you to see the bigger picture and focus on the vision you have for it, says Emma Warren. Just as importantly, it will also enable you to manage the growth of the business better.
She says: “Entrepreneurs are phenomenal at having ideas but one of the problems of being an entrepreneur in a growing business is they keep chucking ideas in before the business can cope with it. What stepping out of the business forces you to do is to think carefully about those ideas and then bring them into the business in a way that it can cope with them, so your business can develop. It also stops the entrepreneur from burning out because if they don’t get some time to work on the ideas they have, the day-to-day routine of running the business can really become a drain. It helps them realise that they can take time out for a reset and the business won’t just stop.”
She adds: “You need to start thinking about this right from the start. Growing a business is a bit like raising a child – they go through different phases. The tendency as an entrepreneur is to get so embedded in getting things to happen that you miss the fact the business is growing and needs to grow into the next phase, whether that is in terms of structure or new products or new sectors. You become too busy doing and not busy enough seeking. So you need to make this a conscious thing, and do it regularly.”
This is how to do it:
- 1. Clear time in your diary
Emma says: “Book time in your diary at least once every three months to work on your business. You might choose to put aside a day or half a day once a quarter, or you might prefer to book two hours in a morning once a month. It has to work as a natural pattern for you because then you will do it. But you need to schedule it and it needs to be sacrosanct.”
- 2. Get away physically
Emma says: “It is important to take yourself physically out of the business and away from the building where you work. Don’t just say I am going to shut my office door for a day, because the phone will ring and people will come in. You need to go somewhere else to reset your mind and get out of the rush mentality. So take a walk, go to a coffee shop, go for a swim – something to slow your brain down to make space for the thinking.”
- 3. Start delegating the day-to-day functions in your business
Emma says: “A lot of entrepreneurs get stuck in the detail and that stops them getting out of the business. It is easy to believe that nothing can happen without you being there, but you should be constantly looking at what you can delegate or automate to make space for you to step out of the business.”
- 4. Do some preparation
Emma says: “As you get ideas when they are going about their business, write them down in a notebook and don’t get distracted by them. Then when you are taking this time out from the business, get that notebook out because it will give you some ideas to get you started.”
- 5. Look around you
Emma says: “When you are taking this time away from the business, don’t just look at what you are doing; have a look at what is going on around you, at what is happening in other sectors.”
- 6. Keep it small
Emma says: “It is really difficult to vision by committee. I have seen entrepreneurs try to involve everybody in this. But this is a small team thing - it should be just you and maybe one other person to set the path and direction. When you then start fleshing out how it should happen, that is the time when other people can get involved.”
Three things that you can do right now
1. Book the time out in the diary at the beginning of the year
2. Commit to it
3. Understand that this will make a difference – it is probably the most valuable thing that you will do in your business
Emma Warren (www.emmawarren.co.uk) is a business mentor and entrepreneur.