5 Habits That Keep You Working IN the Business Instead of ON the Business

(And what you can do about it…)

Many business owners have heard that you need to “work on, not in, your business.” In reality, this may be easier said than done.

So how do you know if you’re spending too much time doing the wrong kind of work? There are five easy-to-spot warning signs that you’re working in your business instead of on it.

1. Wearing Too Many Hats at Once

You're working in your business if you find yourself constantly distracted and pulled in different directions by daily tasks.

Work ON: Wearing the Hat That Fits

Make an organizational chart with positions and responsibilities clearly defined. Focus your position on the strengths and passions that support your vision for your business.

Clarifying Question: What am I passionate about and excel at in my business that adds to the value of the business?

2. Cash Flow Concerns

You're working in the business if you're struggling to pay the bills and have customers who are 30 or more days overdue on their accounts.

Work ON: Measuring Key Figures that Grow the Business

Complete a bi-annual break-even analysis and monthly cash flow projection to measure the pulse of your business. Create revenue and profit models that will reduce your break-even and create a healthier cash flow for your company by understanding what is driving sales.

Clarifying Question: How am I using existing numbers to operate my business and project future growth?

3. Lack of Peer Support

You're working in the business if you find yourself constantly speaking about your business challenges to front line staff, customers and family members.

Work ON: Building an Advisory Board

Join a peer-to-peer or mastermind group that has a process for listening and drilling down on issues, challenges you in a positive manner, shares best practices with you and holds you accountable to your action plan items.

Clarifying Question: Who can I have a mentoring relationship with that has my level of expertise or higher in other fields and that is as passionate as I am about growing businesses?

 4. Staffing Woes

You're working in the business if staff members seem disengaged, you have high turnover or keep losing your best employees.

Work ON: Recognizing and Improving Talent

Create monthly or quarterly employee reviews, get to know the personal and professional goals of each staff member and ask for their feedback and thoughts at every review meeting. Next, take proactive steps to help them reach their goals and address their professional and personal challenges.

Clarifying Questions: What is the ROI on each employee in my company? Are they an asset or a liability?

5. Not Enough Hours in a Day

You're working in the business if you feel like you constantly put out fires instead of growing your business, you wonder where the day has gone and you don’t get closer to attaining your goals and living the lifestyle you want. There’s not enough time in a day for both your personal life and your business.

Work ON: Prioritizing Use of Time

Review activities on all calendars for the last quarter for all revenue generating positions in the company – and be sure to start with yourself. If you don’t have this data, start collecting it to see what activities are completed during the workday. Try tracking your time in fifteen minute increments for three days and note how better self-management can dramatically increase productivity.

Clarifying Question: On any given day, what is in my control? What actions are you taking that add the most to the bottom line and move you in the direction of your goals?