Small Business CEO - Chief Executive Office
Small Business CEO - Chief Executive Office

Thinking Big: Transitioning from Working IN Your Business to Working ON Your Business as a Solo Entrepreneur

Recently, I hired Dan for some handyman work in my home. As a co-owner of Dolphin Digital, I took the opportunity to ask him if he had a website. He replied negatively, making him a perfect prospect for a new website and related marketing services. So, I began my pitch, but he cut me off mid-way, saying he didn't want a website as he already had enough business. He even had three more appointments that afternoon. It's needless to say that my expectations were quickly shattered.

This isn't the first time a small business owner has turned down my offer of a website. It got me thinking, why do they think so small? I realized that Dan's entire mindset was employee-focused. He was his enterprise's "worker bee" and couldn't think beyond the employee level. In other words, Dan was working IN his business instead of working ON his business.

Many solo or small business owners are often deeply involved in the day-to-day operations of their enterprise. It's a common scenario for Dan and many others like him. But how can they break the chains and stop being an employee to themselves?

The key is to transition from 'working in your business' to 'working on your business.' This shift represents a change in mindset - a step towards the role of a CEO rather than just an employee within your own company. While it might be tempting to dive headfirst into the daily tasks, thinking outside the box and steering the business towards greater heights requires a new mindset. Take your employee hat off and put your CEO suit on.

The story of a handyman turning down our website design services due to having enough business sheds light on an important perspective. Small business owners often become complacent or fail to see the bigger picture beyond their current state. Encouraging entrepreneurs to "think big" involves guiding their attention towards developing and expanding their business in ways that go beyond just day-to-day operations.

Ray Kroc, the visionary behind McDonald's, serves as a great example of this mindset. Kroc didn't just focus on making burgers; he revolutionized the fast-food industry by standardizing and systematizing the hamburger-making process. He created a replicable system that allowed franchisees to duplicate the successful McDonald's model. Kroc wasn't just working in the business by grilling burgers, but he was also working on the business by developing a scalable and efficient system that could be replicated across numerous locations..

Entrepreneurs and small business owners can learn from Kroc's approach and adopt strategies to work on their business, focusing on scalability, systemization, and expansion. Here are six actionable steps inspired by Kroc's principles and mindset:

1. Standardize processes

Develop and document processes and systems that can be replicated. Ensure that there is consistency in the delivery of products or services, even when you are not directly involved.

2. Franchise your expertise

Consider ways to package your expertise into a product or service that can be replicated or offered on a broader scale.

3. Provide training and education

Invest in training materials or programs that can be used to educate employees, freelancers, and others, ensuring uniform quality and service standards.

4. Systemize operations

Implement technologies or systems that streamline operations, reducing manual efforts and ensuring efficiency across all aspects of the business.

5. Focus on scalability and replicability

Develop a business model that can easily be scaled or replicated. Think beyond your current customer base and consider how your products or services can reach a wider audience. Consider adding freelancers or 1099 contractors that can be trained in your processes.

6. Focus on brand consistency

Ensure that your brand's message and identity remain consistent across all locations or points of contact, maintaining a unified customer experience.

Ray Kroc's approach exemplifies the power of developing replicable systems and processes, thereby focusing on scalable, systematic, and strategic growth. By doing so, he worked on his business instead of in it. Shifting from working in your business to working on it requires a change in perspective, where you need to start thinking strategically and lead your enterprise toward its full potential.

As a business owner, it is crucial to take a step back from daily operations, reevaluate your goals, and focus on the bigger picture— the growth and success of your enterprise.

At Dolphin Digital, we prioritize partnering with entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. Please don't hesitate to contact us, and let's discuss how we can help you grow your business.