I’ve talked to a lot of business owners through the years. And one of the most common things I hear is, “I don’t own the business, the business owns me.” Often, an entrepreneur gets trapped into doing everything, from A-Z — “chief cook and bottle washer.” In the life cycle of a business, a business owner needs to work on growing a business, but usually gets sidetracked by the minutiae.
There are two ways to look at how you’re addressing your work operations: working in your business and working on your business. Michael Gerber coined the phrase, “Work on it, not just in it” in The E-Myth Revisited in 1995, and it’s been a part of business jargon ever since. So what does it mean?
Working IN your business is anything that is a job and also the management and execution of that job. This includes the activities that make your business run: product creation, how services are delivered, team training, and marketing/sales.
Working ON your business refers to anything that involves strategy. Think business strategy, marketing strategy, sales strategy, product development, and research. When you work on your business, you make time for the important aspects of your business before they become an urgent need. Practicing critical thinking, which is the top skill the World Economic Forum believes will need to grow by 2025, gets you in the mindset of planning ahead with strategy in mind. And that’s the key to a business’s success.
I spend more time these days working on my businesses than in them, and that’s allowed me to create efficiencies, reduce costs, recruit talent, and develop a strategic plan. There are a lot of resources out there to help you with strategic planning, but the best advice I can give is to invest in people who can take care of time-consuming tasks that allow you to focus on the core business.
In July, I hired two virtual assistants from Red Pen Virtual Assistants. Heidi helped me with a lot of tasks like research, vendor management, and administrative tasks. Bobbie was able to provide a food cost analysis for my restaurants and helped our managers with recruitment — managing Facebook and Indeed.com leads, phone interviews, and scheduling appointments.
It was a good decision and a good investment. (Bobbie’s work will save me thousands in food costs next year.) Take a tip from me and call or email Melissa Thurston, the CEO at Red Pen Virtual Assistants. She has a team of teachers and other educational pros that work as VAs for busy professionals. They’re smart, hard-working, and will save you both time and money. Start working on your business and let one of their VAs help with the rest. #GoodAdvice #TrustMe