The Balancing Act: Working ON Your Business vs IN Your Business

Most new entrepreneurs haven’t figured out the value in working on your business beyond the initial act of creating a brand. However, if you are in business long enough you soon will see that daily operations and balance sheets are just one aspect of your business’s long term growth and success.

You see as an entrepreneur, your business is like a brand new baby. It will demand your attention in various monotonous forms but as it grows its needs will evolve and grow with it.

The obvious and more pressing tasks that require your immediate attention to operate your business will always be, but It takes strategic moves to make it grow and flourish. Understanding the difference between working on your business versus in your business is crucial. So what does that really mean, and why is it essential to find a balance between the two?

Working on your Business: Staying in the Trenches

Working in your business refers to handling the day-to-day operations required to keep the company functioning. This could include:

  • Managing customer service
  • Overseeing budgets and expenses
  • Fulfilling and processing orders
  • Daily Operations and Systems

When you work in your business, you’re actually in the trenches, ensuring that your customers are satisfied, bills are paid, and services or products are being delivered. It’s about managing the present, and that is essential because it keeps the cash flow rolling in and the doors to your business open.

However, getting too caught up in the daily grind can lead to a reactionary way of running your business. This can be bad for long-term because growth strategies may be neglected in favor of short-term demands.

Working ON Your Business: Taking A Bird’s Eye View

What working on your business really means is taking a step back from the day to day to focus on growth and development opportunities. This can look like:

  • Setting long-term goals and strategies for the future
  • Finding new marketing opportunities
  • Streamlining processes for efficiency
  • Planning for scalability
  • Investing in professional development

This approach is more strategic and future focused because it’s more about steering the ship, setting the course, and adjusting the sails. This is the visionary work that might not pay off immediately but is essential for long-term growth and advancement.

Finding the Right Balance & Why Both Approaches Are Key

I learned early on when managing an outpatient program that it is absolutely crucial to allocate time for both aspects? Here’s why:

Solely working in your business can lead to burnout. Entrepreneurs must lift their heads from the daily grind to reignite their passion with strategic and creative thinking. In our office meetings we would segment our meeting focus by identifying the type of work we were discussing that day. We would do this especially when switching focuses because working on your business requires a completely different thinking cap.

Think of the the way you view your business while in the trenches as if it were a mouse running through a maze or when the focus changes to future oriented goals the view then switching to an eagle like view, flying high in the sky. If all your time is spent in the trenches, on operational tasks, it would be extremely hard to advance your company to the next level without ever stepping back to take a bird’s eye view. What’s worse is your competitors who strategically work on their businesses may outpace you by being more innovative and efficient.

By working on your business, you’re better able to prepare for changes, whether the changes are technological advancements, marketing shifts, or customer behavior related trends. It also ensures from year to year that you aren’t stagnated by moving in a linear fashion but showing incremental advancements by trending upward.

As you work on your business, you’ll be able to create systems and processes that allow you to delegate daily tasks, freeing you to focus more on strategic planning and growth. This kind of work requires stepping out of the day to day to take a bird’s eye view of your business.

How to Find the Right Balance

Schedule Regular Strategic Planning Time:

By taking time to dedicate every week solely to work ON your business you will be able to steer your business in the right direction. Be sure to set aside time each week as an ongoing, non-negotiable appointment.

Implement Systems and Automation:

To free up your time for strategic planning it is imperative to invest in systems that handle repetitive tasks without your constant oversight. Things like automatic schedulers, appointment reminders and automatic payments for recurring purchases saves you time and works wonders.

Delegate and Build a Team:

You can’t do it all and even if you can, you will soon find yourself teetering on the edge of burnout. Not to mention you will go much farther and faster with the help and collaboration of others. Hire competent team members or outsource certain roles so you can focus more on your business’s strategic aspects.

Monitor and Review:

Regularly reviewing your strategies as well as the health of your business operations is necessary. Otherwise you may be in danger of imploring outdated practices and/or wasting time and money using inefficient methods.

Stay Educated:

New technologies and advanced ways of doing things crop up everyday. So it’s important to keep learning and keep your finger on the pulse for new trends in business management and your industry to sharpen your strategic acumen.

In conclusion…

Being an entrepreneur sometimes requires you to be a jack-of-all-trades. You will learn how to masterfully juggle between working in and on your business. Striking the right balance for mastery of both is not just a recommendation; it’s a requirement for survival and success. By acknowledging the importance of this duality and taking steps to integrate both perspectives, you’re setting up your business for a promising and resilient future.