Why its important both to work IN and ON your business

When starting your own business, its natural that you just want to be working with your main product, and that’s probably the whole reason you started your business in the first place. I get this, but its a good idea to plan a bit, and both be working IN your business and ON your business.

You might be asking, but Diana, what is the difference?

That is a very good question, and an important one to understand, if you ask me.

Working IN your business is when you are working with things related to your clients and/or products, like meetings, invoicing, answering questions from your client/customers, and actually doing the client work.

You could say that this is working at the micro level of your business.

Working ON your business is more working on the macro level of your business. This being, planning for the future, setting goals for your business, educating yourself in relation to your business, speaking with mentors as well as automating your processes.

Why is it important

The reason both are important is that one rarely work without the other in the long run. If you only work IN your business, you will not be expanding, your business will not live up to its full potential, and you will not develop new products. Your business will become obsolete at some point. If you only work ON your business, you will never be able to serve your clients, and actually earn money for you business.

In the long run you will be able to outsource the tasks you enjoy less, whether it’s the tasks of working in or on the business.

Working IN vs. ON Your Business

How to balance working both IN and ON your business

You need to plan to get everything done! Often people forget the tasks of working ON the business. By planning these tasks into your calendar, you are much more likely to get them done, and thereby more likely to create a more healthy business with focus on both the day to day stuff and on developing your business to serve both you and your customers in the best possible way.

The 5 W’s framework

You need to create a balance of the tasks that are about working IN your business and the ones that are working ON your business. For this you can use my 5W’s framework:
The 5 W's framework

Step 1 – What is the goal for your business?

It is important to know your goal for your business, is it to just be you in a small one-person business, or are you planning in expanding and getting a team in place at some point, for eksample. These point are also important in relations to working IN vs. ON your business. The more plans you have about expanding, the more you also need to focus on working ON your business. To read more about setting a goal for you business, your can read this article.

Step 2 – What are the IN-Your-Business tasks?

Like the example mentioned earlier in this article, write a list of all the tasks related to working IN your business.

Step 3 – What are the ON-Your-Business tasks?

You guessed it, now write a list of all the tasks related to working ON your business.

Step 4 – What tasks are important and which are urgent

The next step is to look at he two lists, and prioritise them in relation to your business goal. With this in mind you can find out what kind of tasks to do when. For more on this, you can read my article on the Eisenhower matrix.

Step 5 – Weekly planning

When you have decided what tasks are important, and which are urgent, you can now start to incorporate these into your calendar, when planning your week. In some cases you can plot a task in as a reoccurring event, and in others you need to be more specific from week to week.
With a weekly base calendar, you can fill in the day-to-day tasks either weekly or from day to day, depending on how you work best.

If you have any questions about working IN vs. On your business, feel free to write me an email.

Diana Lund - 80/20

Always remember – Have fun and Get Shit Done!

Diana Lund