How To Unbottleneck Your Business

What it means to work ON your business instead of IN it

You’ve heard it a thousand times: work ON your business, not IN it.

But what does that actually mean?

Most business owners think working ON the business means working on things that scale the business: market more, sell more, hire more.

Successful business owners and empire builders understand that working ON the business actually means…

Build the infrastructure so the business can scale sustainably with or without you.

More specifically, “working on” the business means building the structures so:

  • Your team is taking the lead and you’re not the bottleneck for decision-making and execution

  • Your clients are getting results without you needing to be involved all the time

  • Your time is freed up from day-to-day operations so you can focus on vision and innovation

The end result of “working on” the business is freedom.

If you’re getting great client results, have an amazing team, and are achieving great profit margins… but you’re still the one holding it all together.

You’re the talent of your business, not the owner.

Adding more clients, more teams, and more profits won’t solve this problem.

Want to know what will?

Unbottlenecking your business and replacing yourself (don’t confuse with removing) is the solution to more freedom.

It’ll create the freedom for you to BE more of the visionary you know you are.

Working IN your business can look like:

  • Putting out fires

  • Managing dropped balls and missed deadlines

  • Setting everyone’s targets

  • Doing the coaching calls

  • Following up with client payments

  • Creating the content

  • Showing up on social media

  • Creating the sales pages

  • Doing your bookkeeping

  • Providing customer support

  • Paying the team

  • And so on…

Working ON your business looks like:

  • Creating clarity on the strategic vision

  • Making sure there’s alignment

  • Focusing on ideating, creating, and innovating because you want to, not need to

  • Choosing when and how you want to engage with clients

  • Leading, not managing the team

  • Lots of time and freedom to work on yourself or spend with family

How do you make the transition from working IN to working ON your business?

I’ve taken my clients through a process I call the OS Upgrade Method where they build 4 Core OS (structures) to unbottleneck their business and reclaim their time and freedom.

The 4 Core OS:

  • OWNER Identity

  • Scalable OFFER

  • Sustainable OPERATIONS

  • Rockstar OWNERSHIP

Let’s break each one down.

Develop OWNER Identity

The first OS to build is your personal operating system.

There’s a cost to get something you want and there’s a cost to keep it.

The other 3 OS will get you time freedom, this first one allows you to keep it.

Doing the important work (you’re avoiding) will get you time freedom, being the person who can lead it allows you to keep it.

Like most business owners, you started as a solopreneur.

Then you created an amazing offer and achieved product-market fit and gained traction. The business scales and you start hiring to keep up with the demand. Before you know it, you’re a business owner with clients, teams, and profits to manage.

But running a business as an owner requires a different IDENTITY than as a solopreneur.

It requires an identity shift—to let go of attachment to your old identity, your old way of being, and your old way of doing things.

Being an Owner means taking ownership of all areas of your business and your life—what’s working and what’s not.

  • Assess your business and find where the bottlenecks are

  • Take radical ownership of the bottlenecks and issues

  • Fix the bottlenecks and create systems to keep them from being an issue again

  • Notice what you’re attached to (or avoiding) that’s no longer serving you, your vision, or the business

This also means taking ownership of how you manage your time and energy.

  • Do a time & energy audit—where are you spending all your time

  • Reclaim your time by delegating, automating, and eliminating

  • Create a personal OS to keep you focused on what matters

(I’ll be sharing more on this in next week’s letter)

A solopreneur’s identity is focused on (attached to) creating traction. A business owner’s identity is focused on creating leverage.

Design A Scalable OFFER

Once you’ve embodied the Owner’s Identity, the next OS you want to focus on is the OFFER.

It’s about optimizing your sales and fulfillment model to make sure your offer is scalable. This is the core of your business—how you create value for your clients, get results, and get paid.

Step 1: Get clear on your Strategic Vision

  • What do you truly want for your personal life?

  • What does our business need to look like for you to have what you want personally?

  • Is your current offer/services scalable? If you took on more clients, will your personal vision be possible?

If you want more freedom to spend with your family but your current model requires you to be deeply engaged with your clients to get them results…

Then scaling your business is not aligned with what you truly want.

Unconsciously, you will continue to sabotage your business to protect your needs and wants.

Clarity and alignment first, always.

Step 2: Optimize or redesign your growth & fulfillment model to increase Offer Capacity

  • How can your Fulfillment model get clients results without you needing to be engaged all the time? (think leverage)

  • How can you increase the profitability of your offer while maintaining the value and results your clients get? (think client experience and retention)

  • How can you increase your capacity for more clients without sacrificing results, team, or profits? (think model)

A scalable offer capacity paired with an aligned vision is what makes up this second OS.

Build Sustainable OPERATIONS

This step is all about building an OS where your business and team can get results without you being the bottleneck for decisions.

This allows you to get out of the day-to-day operations.

Audit and upgrade your operations and management:

  • Create a system for turning goals into clear and strategic quarterly game plans

  • Create a system for managing priorities and holding everyone accountable

  • Create a system for making decisions and solving problems

  • Streamline processes for straight-line execution

Most business owners get out of operations through avoidance. Only to get pulled back in because they need to.

Set up the structure for your operations to reclaim your time and only jump back in because you want to.

Cultivate Rockstar OWNERSHIP

The final step is building an OS where your team is taking ownership of results and outcomes.

This involves building a rockstar team AND a rockstar environment (culture):

  • Create organizational structure and role clarity

  • Empower people to take ownership and make effective decisions

  • Create a hiring and onboarding process for recruiting rockstars

  • Create a system for leadership development and performance management

A-Players require an A-Player environment.

Complete these 4 steps and you’ll unbottleneck your business and reclaim your time and energy to truly be the owner and visionary.

There you go, the 4 Core OS.

It’s a lot, I know. This is work I do with my clients over 6-12 months.

I’m going to break down each part into more clear processes and how-tos over the next newsletters.

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Your Pal,

Colin

P.S. Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. I’m currently doing some market research on founders, so for a limited time, I’m offering free Strategy Calls (all value, no pitch). You’ll walk away with actionable tips on scaling your business and time freedom. Claim a call!

  2. A new course launching soon - The 20 Hour Founder, to help you reclaim your time by unlocking the power of your EA, AI automations, and systems. Join the waitlist!

  3. Follow me on LinkedIn and Instagram for more tips on business growth and personal development

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