Two Mornings A Week

by Dave Pratt

Several weeks ago I included a WOTB quiz in a ProfitTips column in which readers could score the extent to which they work ON their businesses. Click here to read that column. The column was picked up by some other publications and wound up generating conversations on several other popular blogs. Most of the people making comments said that they had pretty low scores. One person who said they scored a 10 out of 100, justified it by saying that, like with all courses, “…take what fits and leave the rest.” I wonder which thing on the WOTB test he felt he could leave…setting goals? Economic and financial analysis and planning? Succession planning? Drought planning? The marketing plan?

I think a lot of the resistance to doing WOTB comes from our inflated notion of how much time is required to get the work done. Last month I met with a couple that exemplifies this tendency. Land prices in their area have sky rocketed and they were debating the wisdom of selling their place and moving to an area where land prices were relatively cheap. Apparently they’ve been debating this for several years.  I suggested a process that would help them identify the outcomes they wanted and help them evaluate each option against those outcomes.  They were appreciative of the suggestion but were concerned about the time it would take.  They seemed to feel that it would take months to do the evaluation. I think it could probably be done in an hour or two.  I wasn’t suggesting that they could find a new property in an hour, but they could evaluate and decide on the strategy that best supported their goals (e.g. stay put on the expensive land, or sell and move somewhere else).

We probably inflate the time we think it’ll take to do WOTB because we aren’t clear on what WOTB is or how to do it.  WOTB is not bookkeeping or accounting. It doesn’t always need to be done in an office. WOTB is the process of making important decisions. Some book work may be required to provide the data to make those decisions, but number crunching is not WOTB. Using those numbers to make decisions is.

We also inflate the time we think it’ll take to do WOTB because of the amount of time we’ve spent worrying about the unresolved issues surrounding our businesses and our lives. It is not uncommon for people to waste weeks, months and even years putting off making important decisions. Perhaps they are afraid of conflicts that might surface if they wade into difficult conversations, or are afraid of making the wrong call. Regardless of the reason, when we spend months or even years worrying about something, it may be hard to believe that the issue could be resolved in an hour or two.

I recommend applying the 80/20 rule to WOTB (spending 20% of our time on WOTB v. 80% on WITB). Assuming a five-day week (I realize that most of us put in more time than that), this comes to two mornings a week (about 200 hours/year).  Why two mornings instead of one full day? Because most of us are freshest in the mornings. We have times when we are worth $100 per hour and other times when we aren’t worth even $10 per hour.  Unfortunately, most of us are in the habit of doing our $100 per hour work (WOTB) in our $10 per hour time and our $10 per hour work (WITB) in our $100/hour time. As long as that’s the case we will never get meaningful results from the little WOTB that we do! Click here to listen to what an RFP alumnus has to say about the value of WOTB.

I challenge you to take two mornings for the next 8 weeks to work ON your business.  Please let me know how it goes and what you accomplish.  If you don’t know how to work ON your business, isn’t it time you attended the Ranching For Profit School to learn?

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