Skillnet Ireland: How to work ON your business, not IN your business

by | Oct 25, 2021

Nobody gets into business expecting sleepless nights and the many hassles that come with running a small company. Somewhere the aim of being in business for yourself and your family gets lost and your time gets eaten up working in the business as an employee. Then all too quickly comes the need for an exit plan.

If this sounds familiar it might be time to take a step back and rediscover why you went into business for yourself, make a plan for your future and work out how you are going to get there.

Lifestyle business or larger company?

In his recent Construction Professionals Skillnet Masterclass Damien O’Brien, of SME Matters, outlined some of the key steps any owner manager of an SME should take. One of the first questions that you need to ask is do you want a lifestyle business or to build a larger company? You need a clear vision and company purpose.

From there you develop your strategy and implementation plan, creating business priorities, enabling you to get the most from your company and your company to get the most from you.

How to get there

Once you have decided where you want to be and the results you want specifically, you need to create the company that can get you there. This means having the organisational structure that is needed and the right people in the right place.

You also need the right customers and to be able to effectively meet their needs in a way that is profitable to you resulting in a win-win partnership relationship. Doing this is working on your business; creating the business you want as a means to getting you where you want to be.

What to do with your profits

“The purpose of business is to generate wealth for shareholders,” says Eamon McGrattan, McGrattan & Kenny Ltd. “Spending half a day working on your business instead of fighting fires can be really rewarding.”

Eamon is a past participant of O’Brien’s tried and tested Transform Your Business programme and has recently sold his Mechanical Services business to CJK Engineering. “It is important to take that step back from the day to day to make sure you are still on track to where you want to go,” he added. “A key question to ask – is your business helping you meet your personal goals?”

Once you have created wealth you then need to decide how to best invest it for your future. Paddy Mahony, PFP Financial, spoke about the importance of using the business as a vehicle for creating personal wealth. He cited the setting up of a pension as the main priority – the earlier the better. And as an owner of a business, to let the business pay the pension contributions as the tax benefit is higher.

Damien O’Brien

There are two other reliefs – Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Relief and Entrepreneurs Relief – that can help you as an SME Owner be tax efficient. The Construction Professionals Skillnet is offering Transform Your Business – a training programme for Construction SME owner managers delivered by Damien O’Brien – starting in October 2021.This programme will guide you through these steps and their practical implementation in six sessions over 12 weeks plus a half day one-to-one consultancy.

To learn more about this and other Construction Professional Skillnet courses, visit or contact Liz Carroll at [email protected] or 087 932 3749.

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