Getting a bird’s eye view of your business

It’s difficult to gain perspective from inside a busy office. Rob Pollard, Director of creative marketing agency Lightbox, believes managers need to take time out to see the bigger picture.

It’s easy to see why business owners often get caught up in the everyday running of their company. Owners often feel ‘it’s quicker for me to do that job than to explain it to someone else’. But growing a business is really more about confident delegation and identifying a long-term strategy for growth.
I always make time to train employees. We run through projects, hold interim project catch-ups and reviews, as well as challenge each other’s ideas and listen to alternatives. Hiring and training talented, trustworthy staff means I can be confident when it comes to delegating projects.
With this in mind, I recently took on another member of staff to free up some of my own time to work ‘on the business’ rather than ‘in the business’. Taking time out in this way gives me the chance to take a long-term view of where the business is heading. It also enables me to focus on winning new business and managing clients while the team gets on with creating great work.
Of course, delegation comes with challenges. It takes time to fully brief a member of staff and communicate project ideas; and sometimes, if it’s a small job, it really is quicker to do it yourself. I also demand exceptional quality in the work that we do. But as our team has developed over the years, continuity has become easier because everyone has equally high expectations. Trust and effective communication are key.
When it comes to maintaining a strategic focus, I find that a day out of the office can really help. I can literally step away from the ringing phones and office noise, and focus without distraction. Planning such time into my weekly diary ensures that I don’t forget about working on the business. I switch off my email and phone for a couple of hours to ensure there are no distractions. I also plan what I’m going to do with that time and set clear goals regarding what I intend to achieve.
Gaining a fresh perspective in this way can really help a business owner see the bigger picture, but speaking to others can help too. This could be a fellow owner that you respect and trust, or a professional such as an accountant or business mentor. Talking about business and marketing strategies with people outside the company stimulates ideas and rekindles my excitement, enabling me to take a bird’s eye view of where my company is heading, and preparing me to focus on the hard work of actually getting there.

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK