What is ‘Working on Your Business’?

All business owners should be familiar with the phrase “working on your business rather than in it”. The problem is that the concept is really ever explained and hence it has become a cliché that few people truly understand.

So what is the difference?
Working IN the business would include those activities that allow you do to deliver your product or service to the customer e.g. taking orders, answering the telephone, packing and shipping, placing orders with suppliers, delivering a service, etc.
Working ON the business involves activities like planning, development, or preparation that improves the business e.g. writing job descriptions, reviewing financial statements, writing a business plan, developing a new brochure, creating new products or services etc.

One of the problems that face many a business owner is their ability to create a culture that has the business relying too heavily on their input. As a consequence you become the first person to arrive each day and the last to leave. Your day revolves around fighting fires, solving employee problems and doing jobs that should be delegated because this is exactly what you have taught them to do! As a result you don’t get much time (if any) to do anything strategic, you are often stressed or beginning to suffer from burnout.

One of the great advantages of owning a small business is being able to adapt to meet your customer’s needs, respond to market opportunities, and changes. But without time to ‘work on’ your business there is little chance of maintaining control and having a good life balance.

So here are a few tips on how to implement the required changes:

  • Find time in your day by delegating or outsourcing tasks that can be done by others. Even if they only do it 80% as well as you could you are still well ahead!
  • Invest in systems and procedures to create efficiency
  • Start by setting aside an hour a day to work on: marketing, sales, customer service, financial management, increasing profits, human resources, systematizing your company, or strategic planning.
  • Introduce regular reports. As you spend less time working in the business you need to know everything is running smoothly in your absence. “If it can be measured it can be managed. If it is measured it can be improved.”
  • Create a business plan. The process will force you to think beyond your current issues and look at factors that will determine your long term success and prosperity (the big picture).
  • Embrace the change. Realise that your role is going to change, the day to day tasks are being delegated /outsourced (or you’ve hired someone) and now it is even more important that you nurture and mentor your team.
  • Look to up-skill yourself and your team in areas of deficiency.
  • Have an Action Plan or ‘To-do’ list to help prioritise tasks and keep you accountable for completing tasks in a timely manner.

For assistance in making the change to ‘working on your business’, contact a business advisor at Watts Price Accountants today!


Richard Kemp – Watts Price Accountants
E: richardk@wattsprice.com.au

The advice provided on this Article is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.