As you grow your business it’s important to distinguish between working ON and IN your business. Without budgeting how to spend your time, you’re not likely to move toward your goals. For many small businesses and solopreneurs, working IN the business is all that happens. I liken it to the hamster on a treadmill. Over time, not much changes and the wheel keeps needing four little feet to keep it moving. How do you know if you’re working IN your business? First, working IN the business is working much like an employee would.
You’re working IN your business if you’re:
- Doing the work yourself
- Serving clients
- Paying the bills
- Collecting outstanding invoices
- Writing sales or marketing materials
- Managing employees
Working ON your business requires more thought and is what enables an organization to grow. In this analogy, the hamster would have to find another hamster to fill in and keep the wheel moving so he could spend some time working on developing some new ways to grow his wheel, or improve the speed. But enough of the hamster wheel analogy. Working ON the business is the type of work that is not easily delegated, and for good reason.
You’re working ON the business if you’re:
- Doing strategic planning
- Building strategic relationships
- Developing and installing systems
- Hiring key employees
- Identifying new areas for growth
- Monitoring key measures
- Leading the organization
How much time should you spend ON vs. IN your business? For starters, plan for about 20% of your time. I realize that you don’t have that time to give up. Or do you? Remember, working IN the business includes all sorts of tasks that can be delegated or outsourced. Yes, it requires some money to do that. This is one of those times when the adage “you’ve got to spend money to make money” holds true. By investing to give you the time to work ON your business, you are building for future growth and success.
Undertaking a marketing strategy would be working ON your business. Many people I interact with want to grow their business. They desperately need a marketing strategy and plan. However, even thought they may want it, many have trouble finding the time in their schedules to actually commit to make that happen. (Hmm, kind of sounds like the good intentions I have about going to the gym and the disconnect I have with actually making the time to get in there as often as I should. Guilty as charged.)
Have you ever thought about the difference between working IN and ON your business? If so, I’d love to hear from you. If you haven’t, maybe it’s time to take advantage of the complementary marketing audit and make time to work ON your business.