Working “on the business not in the business”, that pesky buzzword we hear so often that we start zoning out. But what do we mean by it? Well here are 6 elements of “on the business” we focus on with our clients:


  1. Goal and objective setting: establishing the outcome you want to achieve in a broad sense (i.e. strategic goals) as well as the strategies and steps to get there (i.e. objectives). This forms the foundation to the business, giving purpose and direction to your team and your efforts
  2. Forecasting: estimating and predicting effort, time, and resources required, particularly in support of the goals/objectives. Not only does this help to minimise risks and stress, and but can also maximise the ability to capitalise on growth
  3. Programming and Scheduling: establishing prioritises, tasks, and timeframes to operationalise and achieve your goals/objectives. This outlines what needs to be done, when they need to be done, how long it should take, and by whom
  4. Budgeting and reporting: The budgeting processes establishes the financial objectives up-front based on the time/resource requirements in the schedule and provides a sense check on the businesses capacity to deliver the intended goals/objectives. Reporting then provides the critical control over both the budget and performance to the schedule
  5. Formulating policies: Policies outline a plan of action that govern the way you react to a problem, whether it be within the business (i.e. people/HR, customer, supplier, financial etc) or external factors (i.e. PEST). These reduce risks and issues by looking forward and anticipating problems that may prevent you from achieving your goals, that may delay the schedule, or could blow out the budget
  6. Developing systems, processes and procedures: Document the approach to performing tasks will ensure they are standardised, repeatable, and consistent. Not only will this help train new staff as they have a pre-existing userguide or handbook, but if tasks are done the same way, every time, by everyone, there is a higher chance that tips/tricks, improvements, and learnings can be capture and used to improve the process and the business


Takeaway activity:

Consider using these element as a rolling 6-month “monthly themes” for your business- if you have a team, these could become a great team building our brainstorming events! Take a look here to download some useful templates and frameworks to help you:

  • Month 1 Goal setting: for example, brainstorm and prioritise with the team the strategic 6-month goal and the monthly activities to get there
  • Month 2 Forecast: for example, map out your expected sales volumes and the lead times, resource, people you’ll need to deliver them- do you have significant peak/troughs? how will you manage them?
  • Month 3 Scheduling: for example, review the priorities the team are working on- are they aligned to the strategic 6-month goal you’ve set?
  • Month 4 budget and reporting: for example, brainstorm what information you need to run the business as well as the information or KPIs you’ll need to use to track your progress to your strategic 6-month. If required, speak your accountant / marketer / advisor for advice on the typical types of report
  • Month 5 formulate policies: For example, brainstorm AND document the key internal and external risk to the business and what you’ll do in response- after all, prevention is better than a cure
  • Month 6 develop systems and processes: for example, get the team to set aside time to jot down the processes they most frequently work on or those that seem to go awry most often so they can start to be simplified or improved
  • Month 7- Goal setting (rinse and repeat)


Further reading