As a business owner, you are constantly looking for ways to be more productive. You use the latest software programs, read all the books and try to make your time spent working in the business the most valuable possible. But ultimately, you end up putting out fires and dealing with staffing issues and training. Which is why I suggest that every business owner spend 1 day a week...

Working ON Your Business, Not IN it.

The distinction is a subtle but very important one. It is the difference between creating real growth and value in your business versus simply putting out fires and doing low level tasks.

Working on your business means taking a day to turn off your phone, shut down your email client and really focus on the A level tasks that help propel and grow your business.

Here are some of my favorite tasks to do on my focus days:

1. Hiring key team members.

One of the most important steps in the hiring process is getting a good handle on who you want to hire for a open position. So I will sit down on my focus day and write out what exactly I am looking for in a candidate. This includes things like:

  • The tasks and responsibilities of this new hire.

  • The experience set you want them to have.

  • The qualities you're seeking in this person.

  • The values this person must embrace.

Then I summarize my list of desired experiences, qualities, and values into the 3-5 "Must Haves". The time spent getting clear on the position will save me thousands of dollars and the time spent having to re-train and recoup from a bad hire. 

2. Building strategic partnerships.

Another good use of my focus time is working on building relationships with key strategic partners. Working on strategic partnerships is different from traditional sales calls and many business owners get these two confused. Strategic partnerships are meant to help propel growth within your business over the long term. This could be partnering with a company that serves a similar clientele or developing content with a fellow leader in the industry.

Another great use of a focus day is to create your quarterly action plan or check in on your progress and make adjustments as needed. By creating a one-page action plan you will have the ability to focus your best discretionary time on three specific areas -- or fewer.  Ideally, you want to check in on your quarterly action plan at least once a week to ensure that you are aligning your best work with your company goals.

4. Key decisions.

If find that it is often difficult to make key decisions surrounding my business on "push" days because there are so many distractions. Taking time on your focus days to think about the big picture and the decisions surrounding your business growth is an excellent use of your time and can lead to millions if done properly. Do you really need that new piece of equipment? Should you expand into that new market? Do you need to discontinue a product line? These types of decisions can have a major impact on your business and should be given your best attention.

I want to challenge each and every one of you to take one day a week to work on your business, and not in it. The results will speak for themselves.

Published on: Mar 7, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.