I meet many people engaged in their own enterprises, and it’s striking how there is a clear divide between those whose lives are controlled by their business, and those who have learned to control it to their advantage.
The first group are often no more than employees who happen to be their own boss, whereas the latter enjoy the freedom and wealth which flows from being in charge of a successful venture.
Here’s a 6-point self-test to decide which group you fall into:
1: Are you working more hours with fewer holidays than any of your staff? If yes, the business is running you, and you are merely working IN it. Get to work ON it, and you will find ways to accomplish your goals and still have time for a normal social and family life.
2: Does everything go wrong when you’re not there? If yes, you need to create systems and processes which function entirely without your input, and then delegate their operation to others. Success in this area is a sure sign you’re getting to work ON your business.
3: Are you constantly juggling cashflow to pay unexpected bills or last-minute demands? If so, you have probably been focussing on small urgent tasks instead of sitting back and planning the big important things, and are too busy earning a living to make any money!
4: Do you have customers who will only deal directly with you? Worse, do you believe they will only ever deal with you? If that’s you, you need to be working ON your business, and educate your customers to buy from others in the company, leaving you free to focus on strategic planning and growth.
5: Is your office door “always open”? Does all your staff come to you for advice and clearance on everything? If so, you need to break the dependency culture and empower them to think for themselves. You’ll get far more out of your people, and free up your time to plan for the future.
6: Do you work to a business plan, with clear, measurable goals? Do you review and amend it regularly based on actual results? If you’re not planning where your company is going for at least the next 3 years, that’s a clear marker that you are only working IN it, not ON it!
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2 thoughts on “6-point test: Are you working ON your business, or simply IN it?”
It seems to me the answers to these questions depend a lot on how much you like your work. Because you can say yes to many of them and it really isn’t a bad thing. The big question is what are you getting out of it vs. what you are putting in.
That’s a fair point BB. I guess the article is focused in the interests of building a scalable business, which is unlikely or impossible unless you embrace the “ON” principles. It’s also much easier to create a venture you like by following the 6 steps. Jonny