When was the last time you dedicated time to working “on” rather than just “in” your business? As freelancers, side-hustlers, or fully-fledged entrepreneurs, we often find ourselves consumed by the daily grind of working in our business. We serve clients, handle tasks, and juggle multiple roles to keep the lights on. But what happens when we focus solely on working in our business and neglect the crucial aspect of working on it?
Does this scenario sound familiar? While working in your business is essential for its survival, operating as a full-time, overworked employee and neglecting your role as the CEO can hinder your long-term growth. In this article, we’ll explore the critical difference between working in and on your business, and why finding the right balance is key to success.
Working In vs. Working On Your Business: A Dual Endeavor
Effectively managing your business involves running two simultaneous operations: the business you’re currently in and the business you aspire to become. Think of it as wearing two hats – one as the employee and another as the CEO. Each role is vital, but it’s essential to strike a balance between them.
What Does Working ‘On’ Your Business Entail?
1. Consistent Evaluation of Your Business Performance
Often, in the whirlwind of daily tasks, we neglect to assess our actions. According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of results stem from just 20% of activities. However, without evaluation, identifying that crucial 20% can be challenging. Regularly sit down – be it weekly, monthly, or quarterly – to review your business’s performance. Key metrics to consider include:
- Revenue and profit: Is your business model aligning with your desired lifestyle and allowing for growth?
- Creative output: Are you engaged in client work that challenges and inspires you? Are you maximizing your ‘zone of genius’?
- Quality of life: Does your business support your health, hobbies, travel, and relationships? It should enhance your life, not detract from it.
By being crystal clear about your metrics of success, you can continually assess and adapt your strategies.
2. Being Clear on Your Vision
As the captain of your ship, you must chart your course. Define your vision for the business, set goals, and make high-level strategic decisions accordingly. A well-defined vision guides your actions and keeps you on track.
3. Business Development
Irrespective of your industry, we’re all in the relationship-building business. Working ‘on’ your business involves looking ahead, nurturing leads, and building strong relationships before you need them. Allocate a significant portion of your working hours to marketing and business development.
4. Investing in Yourself
Your business’s growth is intrinsically tied to your personal development. Success doesn’t hinge solely on external circumstances; it’s a result of personal growth. Take charge of your training, education, and self-improvement. Read books, listen to podcasts, attend workshops, hire a coach, and address any health issues holding you back. Investing in yourself is an investment that yields returns.
5. Treating Yourself Like Your Best Paying Client
You are the engine of your business, its most valuable client. Treat yourself accordingly. Just as you would prioritize a top-paying client, uphold your personal commitments. Schedule important meetings with yourself, arrive on time, take notes, and follow up with agreed-upon actions.
In essence, the more effort you put into working ‘on’ your business, the smoother and more efficient your work ‘in’ the business becomes. Achieving this balance is the key to long-term success and sustainable growth in your entrepreneurial journey.