Google this topic and you will be presented with various takes on the matter – all concluding that if you want to grow your business, you have to work ON and not just IN your business.
Here are the two most common questions I get asked about this concept:
- What’s the difference between working IN your business and working ON your business?
- How much time should I spend working ON vs IN my business (is there a magic formula)?
Let’s examine them.
What’s the difference between working IN your business and working ON your business?
Here’s a common way to look at it:
Working IN your business means “doing” your business. You’re working IN your business if you are:
- Doing the work yourself (i.e. serving the clients, implementing the projects)
- Managing all the backend operations (i.e. paying the bills & collecting outstanding invoices, managing sub-contractors/trades (if applicable), purchasing materials, bookkeeping etc.)
Working ON your business means “thinking and planning” about your business’s future and all actions related to filling your pipeline of future projects. You are working ON your business if you are:
- Doing strategic planning & creating a marketing plan
- Building profile, networking and building strategic relationships
- Learning about and immersing yourself in your target client segments (market research)
- Identifying new areas for growth and new products/services
- Developing and installing systems to support your (growing) business operations
- Hiring out key functions like marketing communications, bookkeeping and in some cases, sales
- Investing in your own professional training and development
For many solo and small home renovation contractors and other suppliers, working IN the business is all that happens. And you only realize that you need to work ON our business when you’ve run out of work. But by then, it’s simply too late to have an immediate impact to your revenue. Which … leads to the second most common question about this concept …
How much time should I spend working ON vs working IN my business? Is there a magic formula?
Google is awesome. Search this question and you’ll come up with a number of sales models and business coaches purporting to have the answer. They vary, but generally suggest a 20% to 80% ratio (ON to IN).
We, however think it’s the wrong question. The very nature of the question assumes these tasks are separate. And we believe it’s the very reason why small business owners struggle with this so much. They are directing their energy in the wrong direction.
Here’s what this question looks like with a CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 Lens:
Where does the label “working IN my business” stop me from seeing how I can be working ON it?
Where does my belief that these are separate things stop me from seeing the potential right in front of me?
The truth is, you need to do both. Continuously.The good news? You can learn how to, and get better at, working ON your business so it doesn’t suck the joy out of what you do. The better news? Other than perhaps bookkeeping and paying bills, you can be working ON your business when you’re working IN it.
Tips and strategies to do just that will continue to be offered here. Stay connected by subscribing.
Wishing you good business success!