15 Top tips for working ‘on’ your business (not ‘in’ it)

 Profile image of Corine Hines From Spring Leadership

Corine Hines

Back in 2010, when I was just starting my coaching journey, I began seeing how powerful the process was for individuals. I’ve worked with all types of leaders and managers, from underrated heads of finance and recently recruited high potentials, to directors that were heading for burn out.  Watching them grow, develop better habits and improve their relationships, was incredible. But I was itching to have more impact on the wider business.

Personal transformations are amazing – but I knew that high performing teams aren’t created because one person transforms themselves.

Over the years we’ve developed an approach that helps individuals and teams make huge leaps forward – transformations that set them up for future success, which make a significant difference to them personally and to the bottom line.

Our techniques change businesses for the better. And it’s an absolute privilege to be involved.

It’s not uncommon these days for leaders to realise they need to be working ‘on’ the business more – which means less rolling up your sleeves and getting lost in the operational noise and more bigger picture thinking. But as you probably also realise – it’s not the knowing that’s difficult, it’s the doing. So we’ve put together these tips and insights from our clients and contacts to help you on your way.

In one of those big-picture moments one of our clients realised that their greatest salespeople are their customers, so it’s all about being Perfect this year.

Pursuing perfection really does matter

“Something we learned in 2018 would be: “Pursuing perfection really does matter”. This year we are focusing on this as ‘Perfect1.9’ being our 2019 motto…have adapted our 2020 plans accordingly …and made our dominant business focus ‘to deliver outrageous amounts of value to our customers every time they do business with us, so they become fanatical followers who tell the world how great we are!’”

And from other clients and contacts, here are some more ways to zoom out and work on your business not in it in 2019:

“Plan, plan, plan”

“Even if you plan and analyse what is going on you need to look further into the future.  Do not assume that you are going to roll along at the same pace. Back in September, I could see we might exceed our overdraft limit in December.  After speaking to the bank, we had to produce figures etc, cash flow starting with a zero balance, cash flow, based on a forecasted end of year bank position and showing projected sales figures for 2019.  The bank took nearly eight weeks to decide if they were going to extend our overdraft, it came through the week before Christmas.  A close call. All areas need to be planned out as far in advance as you can, this way costs can be tracked.”

“Strip out unproductive time and confidence-sapping thought patterns.”

“I can’t remember where I picked up these top tips from but they have become my mantra in driving forward the decision-making in my business. If ever I find myself overthinking situations, getting overwhelmed with workload, or procrastinating I simply take a look at these top tips and get myself back on track. Result? Best year in business so far… more senior clients, higher revenue, increased motivation.

STOP trying to be an oracle.

MOVE quickly.

Say ’NO’ to things.

It pays to advertise.”

“Keep focused on a ‘win-win’ mentality”

“In 2018 we’ve been communicating this to our staff and we will continue this in 2019.”

“Be mindful of external influences”

“In particular the ‘B’ word, however, don’t let them consume too much energy – proactively plan but don’t talk the business into its own recession.”

“You never know where your next client will come from”

“Whether you’re on the school run, at the supermarket check-out or even on a train. You never know who you’ll strike up a conversation with…and you never know where it might lead. I’ve even gained a new client while relaxing in the jacuzzi at my local gym! And I don’t mean you should enter every conversation expecting to make a sale, that would just put people off. Be authentic – no, I actually hate that word – just be you and show a genuine interest in and compassion for other people. People buy from people at the end of the day.”

“Always Act Above the Line”

“We’re finding it as hard for us as Directors to consistently act above the line (e.g. avoiding the default of blame when someone makes a mistake) as it is difficult to make sure staff don’t operate below it!”

“Start Writing Blog Posts”

“My first tip would be to write blog posts, on your own blog, on LinkedIn and guest posts Writing is a great way of helping and connecting with others, plus you understand what you’re writing about so much better after you’ve done it.”

“Follow Other People’s Posts”

“My second tip is to read other people’s posts, follow them on LinkedIn and sign up for good blogs from the big and little players in your field. Then allow yourself an hour a day to read, learn and share. That’s probably what I’ve learned in 2018 – it’s one thing to say learning is important but it’s difficult to not feel guilty about taking the time to explore and learn from all the stuff that’s freely available on the internet.”

“Be Bold About Connecting with Others Online”

“You don’t have to be pushy and you can get involved in all sorts of interesting things if you overcome your basic reticence/fear of connecting. And being bold builds your confidence, and increased confidence makes you bolder. Worth a try!”

“Give Customers Value”

“These days customers require value for money much more and are not driven by the “cheapest” quote, as experienced in much of the last few years trading and heightened during the recession.”


“Focus on specialising in whatever you’re trying to sell…product or services. Customers don’t want generic”

“Be vigilant of one’s credit procedure”

“You don’t need to work for everyone …my clients are equally fortunate to have us working for them as we are receiving work from them.”

“Make use of tech to save time”

“My favourite cloud-based tool at the moment is Xero, an accounting package. It’s so easy to update every week and you can record all your expenses by photo’ing invoices and uploading them wherever you are. It has removed a huge stress from my life, not having to gather together paper records and spreadsheets at the end of each year and try and make sense of them.”

“Leadership Behaviour Really Does Influence Culture”

“We need to keep working on this in relation to H&S – and making sure everyone is showing the right behaviour.”

If you want to look at how you can make sure your business is ready for whatever 2019 brings, then get in touch.

Thank you for all the fantastic contributions, some of which came from:

Richard Mabe, Director | www.soilfix.co.uk

Steve Jackson, Director | www.soilfix.co.uk

George Evans, MD | www.soilfix.co.uk

Garth Knappett, MD | www.elmbridgesuppliesuk.com

Emma Crowley, MD | www.pnplastics.co.uk

Kevin Oubridge, Director | www.acceleratedsuccess.co.uk

Paul Dunne, MD | www.hag.co.uk

Julie Horne, CEO | www.cambridgeleadershipcoaching.co.uk

Nicky Weelen, Founder | www.nickyweelencopywriting.com

Next up we will be looking at Your Company’s Greatest Assets…