Strategic Planning: Working On Your Food Business Instead of In It

Strategic Planning Working in Your Business or on Your Business

What’s keeping my food business from growing? Will my to-do list ever stop expanding? These strategic planning questions plague owners and managers, and sometimes it seems like there aren’t answers to them – only more questions, doubts, and struggles. You’re probably familiar with the feeling.

At some point, every food business experiences this plateau of growth and subsequent frustration, but there’s good news: you can beat the seemingly never-ending grind. But to move beyond these current challenges, you need to identify the obstacles that keep you stuck.

Working In Your Business: The Hidden Enemy Of Productivity

As an owner or manager, you’re required to wear a lot of hats. At the end of the day, if something needs doing, it’s ultimately your responsibility to see it through. This is the burden of people at the top – and when unchecked, it’s a massive roadblock to progress.

Do you find yourself working in your food business in any of these ways?

  • Collecting audit documents
  • Personally retraining your staff on QA procedures (over and over again)
  • Grabbing the mop and brush to clean up spills
  • Running around the facility non-stop to collect data and check-in with departments
  • Reviewing paperwork manually for hours

Sure, every now and then these things are simply unavoidable. Someone has to do them, and the job occasionally falls on you. But when Salesforce reports that small business owners spend 23% of their day manually entering data into software and spreadsheets, something’s gone wrong.

Wouldn’t you rather be working on your food business instead?

  • Reaching out to potential customers
  • Building long-lasting relationships with clients
  • Finding the right help to empower your business
  • Strategizing ways to expand into new markets

Working in your business gets the basic jobs done, but working on your business – engaging in strategic planning – is what enables growth. Which sounds better for you in the long-run?

Working in Your Business Costs You Business

Getting stuck in a daily rut happens easily and often without being noticed. One day you’re asked by the food safety coordinator for a missing document. Then you discover a minor food safety failure that needs fixing. Then you spiral down a rabbit hole of hazards, procedures, training, and before you know it, weeks or months have gone by.

It wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that, as the manager or owner, you’re job isn’t to do the routine work once things are up and running – it’s to grow the business. Every minute you spend working in your business is a minute you’re not growing it.

Here’s what you have to lose.

  • Better Relationships: Connection doesn’t just happen. It takes time, energy, and intention. When you can’t connect with clients in meaningful ways because you’re stuck putting out fires, the quality of those relationships starts to decline.
  • Efficient Systems: You want to create better processes for completing tasks, especially those you’ve had it on your to-do list for months, but when you’re constantly doing the work yourself, you don’t have time to create the systems that will allow you to delegate to others.
  • More Business: Strategic funnels can bring leads to you, but when you’re always putting out fires yourself, you can’t focus on creating those systems that feed lead generation.
  • Expansion Opportunities: A chance to expand into an emerging market may be knocking at your front door, but when you’re always trying to play catch-up, you can’t strategically assess new opportunities.

And these missed opportunities affect everyone. According to a study by The Alternative Board, business owners spend an average of 68.1% of their time working in their business, and only 31.9% working on it. That’s a lot of time dedicated to low-ROI tasks and a lot of time that could be focused on more important things, like strategic planning.

Get Unstuck And Focus On Strategic Planning

Imagine going to work, pouring yourself a cup of coffee, and reading your favorite industry publication in peace. Your day consists of looking at sales trends, consulting research, and looking ahead. No food safety fires to put out, manual data entry, or spending hours trying to solve last week’s problems all over again. Your business runs efficiently, and you get to look at the bigger picture.

This is a reality for many.

The earlier you can recognize the pattern of stepping too far into your business, the faster you can exit the downward spiral, and the more time you’ll have to develop powerful systems that get things done without your constant attention – and the more your business will grow.

But how, exactly? In an upcoming blog, we’ll discuss strategies for how you can step away from the daily grind and focus on the things that matter most to the growth of your business. With some clever approaches to how you manage your time and employees, you’ll be drinking your coffee in peace in no time.


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