Working ON Your Business

Brad Swift

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I've noticed that to the degree that I've taken my own coaching in the area outlined below, the more my own business on purpose has flourished.

So, here's my question to you:

Are you working ON your business or only IN it?

Do you want to know one of the major ‘blind spots’ that I find prevent so many health care professionals from reaching their business goals and is a significant contributor to professional burnout?

It's the failure to carve out the time to work on your business. It's really easy to understand how this happens. Most health care professionals didn't enter their profession to become business owners. What guided them to their chosen profession was a desire and passion to make a difference by helping people in some way, whether it was helping them by taking care of their animals as with veterinarians, or by helping them with their own health as with dentists, physicians, and chiropractors, or by helping people reach their life goals as with coaches.

We all seem to have this common blind spot because we mostly just want to help people in our chosen way. Being a practice/business owner simply comes with the territory, so we often get caught up in vetting, doctoring, coaching, etc. and fail to realize that to make the biggest difference with the most people and to reap the financial rewards that come with that, we have to devote a fair amount of time to working on our business as well.

What Does It Mean To Work ‘On My Business?'

While there are many ways to answering that question, one of the simplest ways is by looking at what a business is. It'll take us a long way to helping us understand when we're working ON the business and when we're working IN the business.

To paraphrase Michael Gerber, business guru of ‘The E-Myth’ fame, a business is a set of systems and structures that allow us to deliver on our chosen work, be it health care, or baking and selling bread, or manufacturing widgets. If that's the case, then working ON our business means we're working on the systems and structures that allow us to deliver our product and/or service. This often includes creating those structures and systems as well as polishing and perfecting them.

What Are Ways To Work On My Business?

Another great question. I'm so glad you asked it. Here are just a few ways to be at work on your business:

1 - Regular Staff Meetings: Particularly staff meetings where you are training your staff to deliver on your products and services, because your staff is one of the major and most important systems that make it possible for you to deliver on the goods.

2 - Identifying where a system or structure is missing and then designing one to fill the void. For example, can you imagine running a professional practice without having a reminder system to alert your clients when it's time for them to return for routine care? Well, that's a system that someone recognized a need for and designed. This is a great place where your staff can make a major contribution if you'll take the time to listen because they are on the frontlines and know when and where a system is missing. In fact, they are often the best ones to design a system that will really work.

3 - Perfecting and polishing an existing system. Systems wear out or outlive their usefulness, so often times you need to address how to improve and/or replace a system or structure that is no longer getting its job done. Again, this is a great place to call upon the assistance of the people involved with those particular systems.

4 - Working on the Big Picture. Envisioning, goal setting, and strategic planning are all vitally important aspects of working on your business, and is probably one of the most common places that health care professionals miss the boat. In many of my presentations to the veterinary profession I ask how many practice owners have a clearly written vision statement. The hands that go up are rarely more than 5 -10 %. When I ask of those with their hands up how many of them could tell me verbatim what their vision statement is, almost all the hands go down. And I can't remember the last time I met someone who said that if I asked any of their staff members what their vision statement was, they'd be able to tell me.

Yet, a vision statement is a critical piece of your business because it tells you and the rest of the world who you are as a business and what you're up to in the world. Big. . . big. . . blind spot.

And this leads to my last point, which is in a way a confession. Although I consider myself an excellent coach, and have plenty of testimonials from satisfied clients to verify that assessment, I feel one of the strongest reasons for you as a health care professional to work with a coach. . . any coach. . . is because the coaching relationship will ‘force’ you to spend at least some time working ON your business. And without that structure in place the truth of the matter is most of you simply won't get around to it. And it's this blind spot that is costing you BIG TIME, in revenue lost, in satisfaction and fulfillment missing, and in it eventually leading to your burning out in your profession.

©2005 Brad Swift of Life On Purpose Institute, Inc. This article can be reprinted freely online, as long as the entire article and this resource box are included.

Dr. Brad Swift founded Life On Purpose Institute in 1996 with the vision of creating a World On Purpose by assisting people like yourself to clarify their life purpose & live true to it. Determine how on or off purpose your life is with the fun & insightful Self Test at: Inspire yourself with a fr. ee subscription to Purposeful Pondering Ezine:


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