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Working On Your Business vs. Working In Your Business: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Sherry H. Rodriguez | May 29, 2023 | 0 Comments

As an entrepreneur and business owner, everything to do with your business falls on your shoulders. You are the CEO, CFO, COO, not to mention the assistant, social media manager, and HR department.

Needless to say, you are wearing a lot of hats. It can be challenging to make time to work on your business and work in your business - let alone how to separate the two.

And that's why today's blog will focus on exactly that. We'll explain what it means to work on your business versus working in your business and how to effectively manage each. 

Working on your business

Working on your business includes anything strategic, including, but not limited to:

  • Vision
  • Business strategy
  • Marketing strategy
  • Sales strategy
  • Product development
  • Research
  • System selection and systems improvement
  • Decision making regarding the business

This also includes taking the time to plan for the future, automate processes, engaging with learning and education opportunities, and meeting with mentors, thought partners, and the community at-large.

More often than not, business owners neglect these crucial tasks because they spend too much time working in their company. 

Working in your business

Working in your business is anything that is a job, i.e., the activities which make the business run as well as the management of those activities. 

This typically involves:

  • Making the product or delivering the service
  • Administrative work
  • Hiring and onboarding new employees
  • Team training
  • Client meetings and management
  • Paying invoices and invoicing clients
  • Dealing with customer and employee conflict or complaints
  • Marketing management and execution
  • Sales management and execution
  • Social media management and execution

It's easy to see why many business owners fail to work on their business because all of their time is taken up by these daily tasks and responsibilities that keep their business alive. 

And while we would never suggest you give either of these up, you should learn how to delegate some of these tasks to other employees. Doing so will free up your time and allow you to focus on the continued development of your business. 

How to work on your business effectively

1. Delegate

One of the hardest and most essential skills to learn and implement as a business owner is the ability to delegate.

After creating and separating your “in” vs. “on” business tasks, determine which elements of your business you most enjoy and what can be performed by someone else. 

Can you hire a part-time assistant to answer inquiries and schedule meetings? What about hiring someone to handle your social media marketing so you can focus on your current clients? 

You can even hire a CEO to work on your business if you want to work in your business.  Just make sure you still need to know what's going on because this is your business.

Delegation is difficult, but it is a healthy and vital part of growing your company.

2. Identify one “number” in your business as your weak spot

Are you unsure about collection rates? Or, have you been neglecting your search engine optimization (SEO) research? Or, maybe you need to catch up on the latest trends and news in your industry?

Whatever your weak spot is, spend time improving and monitoring the relevant metrics to improve it. 

3. Outsourcing

In addition to delegating where you assign tasks to employees, outsourcing is another effective way to free up your time and schedule.

Many business owners use third-party service providers to fulfill their accounting, payroll, data recording, customer support, telemarketing, logistics, and quality assurance needs. 

Through outsourcing, you can leave behind tasks you'd rather not be doing yourself and make time to brainstorm ways to grow your business and revenue. 

4. Check-in with your team

Employees, no matter what level they are, will likely have ideas on how the company can improve.

Schedule meetings with your employees at specific times (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) to learn what is going well and what aspects of the company need more improvement. Keep an open mind as your team might have ways to bring the company forward that you never considered before. This will also empower your team to help you build your business, increase buy-in to any changes you implement, and provide ways for your team to feel connected to the company.

Stick to this schedule and keep you and your team accountable at each meeting with agendas, action items and next steps.

5. Create a conducive work environment

All of the tips above are worth nothing if you do not have a work environment that supports you and your business's success.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It's up to you to determine when and how often you need to schedule time to work on your business. It can be a weekly, one-hour strategy session, or maybe you plan a quarterly planning day to outline and plan for the next quarter. 

Additionally, consider holding these meetings away from your typical office to give yourself the opportunity to do the big-picture work in an environment free from office distractions. 

It's challenging to take the time away from your day-to-day tasks and look ahead to the future. However, the time spent working on your business will always be a good investment as long as you take the time and space to do so.

Thankfully, we have made it our mission to guide and help business owners of all levels every step of the way. We don't believe anyone should have to do business alone. Reach out to us today for a consultation and we'll help you and your business set up for success.

About the Author

Sherry H. Rodriguez

Ms. Rodriguez is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of R&R Legal.  She leads the firm's mission to empower business owners to take control of their life and legacy with clarity and intention.  Her practice includes strategic business counsel and estate planning in New Jersey and New York. Gr...


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