Are you working in your practice, or on your practice?

Whether you are a solo practitioner or a partner in a large firm, you MUST understand the difference between between working IN your practice, and working ON your practice.

When you’re working IN your practice, you are yourself preparing tax returns…doing books…preparing financial statements…talking to Revenue Officers.

When you’re working ON your practice, you’re creating new revenue streams…getting more clients…increasing revenue opportunities with existing clients.

By understanding the difference between these two, something interesting happens: You begin to realize that certain things you do generate revenue, and other things don’t.

Now obviously, if you are a solo practitioner or part of a very small firm, you still have client work to perform. But, you also need to spend time working on revenue-generating activities. If you don’t, then you quickly find yourself in a situation where you are finishing up work for a large client, and then revenues drop off the cliff because you no new client coming in to replace the one you just finished up. I call this the boom & bust cycle of a practice, and breaking you out of that cycle is, in reality, the overarching focus of everything I’m trying to present to you in these articles.

If you are stuck at some income level, and you want to push past it, then you absolutely, positively must spend time working ON your practice. This means working uninterrupted on tasks that will specifically generate revenue. Let me repeat: Uninterrupted. Your time working on your business is the most important appointment on your calendar. It’s an appointment that you should literally pencil into your schedule, and not allow it to be interrupted by anything.

The income generating tasks that you perform during these dedicated time blocks, typically marketing and practice management tasks, are the items that directly impact your bottom line. During these time blocks, you need to focus exclusively on these tasks, and your staff, if you have one, needs to respect that time (after all, it’s where their paycheck comes from, too). Nothing should interrupt you during your dedicated practice building time. Short of the building being on fire or your family being in a car wreck, absolutely NOTHING should interrupt this time.

The most productive business builders set aside their most productive time in order to dedicate to their business building activities. For some people, this is the first hour or two of the day, before the rest of the staff even shows up to start interrupting you. If you have to leave the office and work from home during this time, do it (and turn off your cell phone!).

If you are serious about growing your practice and increasing your revenue, it requires a specific type of work that you must commit to. Personally, I believe that everybody should spend no less than 3 hours per day working on this particular aspect of their business. If you “can’t” spend three hours per day on building your business, then you need to give serious consideration to how you spend your time (first thing to go: TV) or to bringing in additional staff.

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