What’s the difference between working ON your business and working IN your business?
When you’re working IN your business, you’re involved in generating the product or service your business provides. If you’re a salesperson, you’re selling. If you’re a consultant, you’re consulting. If you’re a manufacturer, you’re manufacturing. When we say, “I’m running my business,” this is what we generally think of.
When you’re working ON your business, you’re maintaining your pipeline: networking, researching new markets, preparing sales strategies, updating your marketing materials and web site. Basically, you’re ensuring that, in the future, you’ll be able to keep working IN your business, because you’ll have enough business to keep your business running.
When you look at it objectively, it’s easy to see the value of working ON your business. Unfortunately, knowing it’s important doesn’t always translate to getting it done. It’s very easy to get caught up in the minutia of the daily grind, and lose sight of the big picture.
Ideally, you should be spending about 20% of your time working ON your business. That means one to two hours a day, every day. Without fail.
If you just thought, “That’s impossible! I’ll never get everything done!” then you may need to step back and take another look at your workload. What if you started to delegate, just a little bit? Would that free up more time for you to work ON (a.k.a. grow) your business?
I’ve seen it over and over. People fail to prioritize the aspects of running a business which feel less immediate. But when the project ends, and the work dries up, they’ve got nothing in the pipeline. Then, they have to scramble to generate a pile of new business, which leaves them overwhelmed, and working from a place of lack. Some people have called this “the Money Rollercoaster.”
Here are some ways you can work ON your business every day, so you don’t end up on a wild ride.
If you have trouble prioritizing this kind of work over your “real” work, or if you feel ineffective when it comes to strategizing and marketing, don’t worry: you’re not the only one. But once you learn to work ON your business as well as IN your business, you’ll find that you gain a much finer sense of control, purpose, and direction. And isn’t that worth an hour a day?