Using Business Coaching to Transition from Working in Your Business to Working on Your Business

17th Feb , 2017

Many business owners find the transition from “working in” to “working on” their business a difficult process. Therefore they must adopt strategies and take advantage of resources such as business coaching to overcome this very common dilemma. Putting the right strategies in place to make this happen is vital, as a high business value-adding transition not only creates more personal time for the business owner, but also allows them to provide directed effort to focus on strategic business growth and achieve long-term business goals.

As a business owner, your “job” probably evolved from doing everything to possibly still doing everything and then some more. Unfortunately, this may be at the expense of contributing to the business, directing its strategy, and working on its improvement. Once you realise that you need to work at a higher level, you’ll be able to better delegate and focus more on growing your business rather than getting bogged down in the day-to-day tasks that need to be done – but not all by you.

When Do You Need to Transition to a More Strategic Level?

This depends on many factors, including critical mass and the calibre of people you have around you. As a business owner, you’ll know when you are on a treadmill and everything depends on your input to decision making, or you’ll feel that the business needs to lift to a higher level of performance.

Some things you need to have in place before you can transition to working more on your business include:

  1. You must already have in place a competent management team who are able to make decisions and heed your directions and policies.
  2. Delegate what is appropriate.
  3. Have strong controls over finances, credit, operations, personnel, purchasing, systems, internet and social media presence (and its impact on markets and customers), and sales and marketing.
  4. Develop a succession plan for all key staff, including yourself.
  5. Maintain good working relationships with your banks and other sources of funding.
  6. Get your own personal support system into place with a suitable and well-matched business coach or mentor so you can discuss ideas confidentially, be challenged, and have some experience on tap.
  7. Develop your strategy and how to implement it, keep an open mind by staying informed, and continue your business education in the broadest sense. Strategy is a continuous process and it needs to be adapted and reviewed regularly. It is not a “set then forget” process. Consider what you want and start working on an exit plan (or a succession plan including the next generations, if they are interested and up to the job) as part of your own personal strategy for your interests in your business.

It is important to realise that there are many ways to make this sort of transition, and business owners will do things differently depending on their circumstances and personal requirements.

Beginning the Transition

Once you have a good team of people around you, delegating is a good way to get traction by creating the time you need to make the transition to working more on the business. You will of course have to monitor your people closely when you delegate to ensure that they are up to the task. You can then reduce the monitoring as your confidence (and their confidence) develops in their new responsibilities and higher decision making. You will also need to monitor their performance from time to time as a “watching brief”.

Getting and developing the right people who have the appropriate experience and skills is itself a difficult process. It’s important to hire suitable people as you build and develop your organisation’s capability so that you can get the job done without you managing every detail. You will need support from an HR person or recruitment company to find the best possible employees instead of doing it all yourself. This is a form of delegation to outside people who will enhance your ability to reach your business goals.

Taking a Step Back

Many business owners try to handle their business transitions by themselves and be everything to everybody. You may become a bottleneck for change, which can keep your business back or at a standstill. You should be focusing on the bigger picture and the long-term business goals rather than just the change process. So consider delegating most of the change management involved with increasing your people’s delegation to implement your improved strategy. And importantly, tell them what you are doing, i.e. getting them to step up so you can also step up and work more on the business with a business coach.

You need to put in place systems and processes to ensure the standards you have set for the business are achieved and maintained. You will need to carefully look at the delegated authorities of your people and define what they can make decisions on, and when they must come back to you, e.g. signing contracts above a certain size, pricing changes, giving discounts, extending credit, buying fixed assets, rent or leasing agreements, travel arrangements, getting quotes on jobs, acceptable profit margins, and terms and conditions with customers. You should also specify those tasks you reserve to yourself, such as hiring and firing senior management, opening new bank facilities, and communication with other owners or shareholders.

Retaining the right key people as well as attracting them is critical to your own transition. Good people are a great asset, and you need to invest time and effort into maintaining their continuing contribution to the business. Communicate with them, train them if necessary, and reward them. For example, if you have a CEO or General Manager running the day-to-day aspects of the business, you should support him or her by providing them with your guidance and considering getting them their own business mentor or business coach. This will assist with their business performance and foster appreciation and loyalty.

Don’t Get Drawn Back In

Be wary of your own tendency to not let go of your own creation, i.e. the business you built. It is difficult for anyone, especially business owners who have built the business from scratch, to move on to working on the business. The business is their baby; they have worked in it and loved it. Too often, they are drawn back into working more and more in the business.

Where you are indispensable to the business by working in it, due to your expertise or personal contacts, then you need to take small step changes to realise a slightly better balance, as you still need to work more on the business. To help you in this, a business mentor or business coach who has experience in this type of transition can be a valuable guide and source of support. You are going to need this or nothing will change.

Letting Go Is Hard

Business growth is perhaps the most common reason (and there are many) why business people seek business coaching in Australia. At International Business Mentors, we’re frequently approached by business owners wanting us to find them a suitable business mentor or business coach who has experience with the transition process. The experience, knowledge and support shared through business coaching can provide you with powerful tools that you can tap into. These skills can assist with the various components of transition, general business, and the subsequent growth phase (which can have its own challenges).

A strategic approach is an absolute must for transition and goal setting. Being stretched, challenged and grounded is also necessary, as is ongoing review. An International Business Mentor can step back and look at things from an independent perspective, helping to guide you to focus on what you are good at so you can get the right balance. If you want to change the game in your business, think of the possibilities. If realistic, your business coach or mentor can guide you on how to get there.

For more information about our business coaching in Australia, call us today. We can advise how you will benefit from a well-matched International Business Mentor’s support.

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