Are you working on your business or in it?
Neil Witten’s agency, Bite Studio, was trundling along nicely – but they never really knew how the sausage was made.
“We were always just working how we wanted as we went along. We’d book new clients and hire new people when we needed to, but we weren’t particularly deliberate about what we were doing,” he says.
As a result, the agency took on far too much work.
“We tried everything we could over a three-month period to deliver all this work we had, but something had to give. We realised we’d have to renege on a large piece of work with a global book publisher, which almost put us at risk of being sued,” he explains.
The idea of working on your business and having a clear process in place was solidified when raising money for his successful SaaS start-up, StoryStream.
“There was this expectation that we should have monthly board meetings, reports, financial models, strategy… and I’d been quite against all of this stuff as it didn’t feel necessary,” he says.
Speaking to another agency leader gave him proper perspective on the work he should have been doing on the business itself, and how important an internal sense of direction and purpose is to overall success.
“That was the lightbulb moment for me. I started to appreciate that to do things well, we needed to be much more deliberate about how we did them,” he says.
“And I learnt that by doing this work, you’re able to be so much more in control and purposeful about the business you aspire to become.”
We’ll be talking to Neil about the importance of working on your business, how to find time to take a step back, and what can happen if you don’t.