Window of Opportunity by Micky Calcott
by Micky Calcott
March 22nd, 2017

Working on the Business…

As the founder and owner of The Window Film Company, I’ve learned a lot of lessons. Many of them by taking advice from others, some by taking classes or attending training, while others I’ve found out for myself—sometimes the hard way. One of the most important things I’ve ascertained as a business owner is the importance of my time and how best to use it.

The key starting point is establishing the difference between working in your business and working on it. It’s been 18 years since I started my company, and the temptation to get caught up in the former remains strong; I’ve had to train myself to focus more on the latter.

Working in your business will feel natural. You understand it, you understand your clients, and you understand the industry. If you deal with something you know, it will be dealt with to the standards you expect in a way in which you’ll be happy with. All these things are probably true, but there’s a problem. If you try and do everything yourself, you’ll find yourself without the time or energy to take a step back, to look at the future, to plan, evolve and grow. If you want to make your business bigger, more effective or more profitable, you need to take a step back. You need to make sure you are spending at least as much time working on your company as you are in it.

As I mentioned, I had to train myself to get into this mindset. Here are a few of the ways I helped myself to focus on the transition; they are relatively quick exercises and could help you do what it took me a while to get my head around.

  1. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Things that are a struggle invariably take more time. The chances are that if there is something you know you aren’t good at, there is someone within your business that is. Get to know the strengths of your team and utilize them accordingly. Not only does this free you up from time consuming tasks, it shows a willingness to trust colleagues with important work, as well as recognizing their individual skills. Just don’t be tempted to talk yourself into believing you aren’t any good at making your morning coffee…
  2. Understand your routine. Take the time to write down your job description. Not what you think it should be, write down what it actually is. Make a note of all the tasks you do, every element of the business that you are responsible for. Be exhaustive; try not to leave anything out. Once complete, go through the list and for each task ask yourself the same question. “Can any of these tasks be delegated? Do I need to be doing this, or does this fit better within a colleague’s job description?” This isn’t an exercise in offloading work you don’t want to do to others; it’s about making sure you get the best out of your workforce.
  3. Training. Don’t be nervous about investing in training. It may be that with a little help, your colleagues could take on extra responsibility or perform additional work. Not only does this help you, but it sends clear messages to your employees, illustrating you are willing to invest in improving their skills.  By offering training to your staff, you are taking people you already know and trust and helping to advance their capabilities and skills which, in turn, enables them to take more responsibility.

To be clear, these steps aren’t just a way to get the tricky things off your desk, nor are they an excuse for heaping more work onto your colleagues. Done correctly, you will find yourself with a more motivated and empowered workforce along with increased opportunities and time for focusing on how you can improve, grow and develop your business.

It was 2009 when I realized that if I wanted The Window Film Company to grow and reach the potential I envisioned, I would have to step back from the day-to-day running of the business and focus my energy in a more strategic capacity. This decision has allowed me to seek out profitable ways of diversifying, to research new products and to build relationships and new partnerships that have allowed my company to offer a wider range of products to a wider than ever range of clients and customers.

I’m proud of what the business has achieved and, in my career, there have been a number of key milestones. A key one was the decision to take a step back and refocus. I haven’t looked back since and the business has continued to flourish. The good news is that you can do it, too. It will take discipline and effort but, as a business owner, you know that all the valuable things do. If this post has given you the appetite and enthusiasm to make the changes I saw were necessary, and you’d like to discuss it further, please let me know—I’d be happy to share more of my experiences and answer any questions. If not, no problem! Thanks for reading, and I look forward to speaking with you again next month.

Until next time … toodle-pip!

This blog is from Focus on Film, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the latest news regarding window film and related products, including paint protection film. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Window Film magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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