Quick question: How many hours per week should you work ON your business as a business owner?
This is an excellent question because it can be easy to get caught up in the weeds, spending all your time on low-leverage activities and needing more time working on your business and high-leverage activities.
I get it.
So, how do you spend your time so that you don’t feel like a hamster on a wheel, working hard but not seeing progress on your big goals?
It starts with having the right mindset. Your mindset impacts the time you spend working ON your business.
You shift how you show up in your business and where you focus.
In this episode, we explore mindset, but first, let’s look at the difference between working ON your business and IN your business.
Let’s start with Working IN the Business
What might you be doing:
Providing Customer Service: Answering customer inquiries, resolving complaints, and addressing any issues with products or services.
Performing Administrative Tasks: Managing payroll, overseeing day-to-day operations, and managing schedules. Producing products or delivering services: This involves performing the core tasks that the business is built around, such as designing products, manufacturing goods, or providing services to customers.
Marketing and Sales:
- Creating and executing marketing campaigns.
- Managing social media accounts.
- Engaging with customers to drive sales.
Managing Employees or Suppliers: This involves hiring, training, and managing employees, as well as addressing any HR issues that arise.
What does it mean to Work ON the Business?
Here are some examples:
Developing a strategic plan for the business: This might include setting long-term goals, identifying key performance indicators (KPIs), and creating an action plan for achieving those goals. For example, every year inside HerBusiness, Members set their annual goals and determine their critical projects. Then, every month they narrowly focus on the goals they need to achieve that month. This structure and habit of having a strategic plan help them have clarity and focus about what they put their attention to.
Analysing market trends and customer needs: You might research industry trends, identify market gaps, and gather customer feedback to make strategic decisions about the direction of the business. Right now, we’re analysing the results of a survey where we asked women about their mindset and how it helps or inhibits their success. It’s fascinating and gives us many insights that will allow us to develop resources to help these women; this is a high-leverage activity that fits inside the idea of working ON your business.
Developing and refining systems and processes: This might include creating procedures for onboarding new employees, streamlining workflow, and identifying areas where automation or outsourcing could be beneficial. Every hour you spend on this type of work reaps the rewards for a long time. You create the system once, and it gets used time and again!
Reviewing financial performance: This involves analysing financial statements, creating budgets, and identifying opportunities for cost savings or revenue growth. As a business owner, making time each month to look at your financials is SO important. And, if you’re not a numbers person, that is an excellent reason to have a bookkeeper do the numbers for you so that you can look over them. And ultimately, you want to be able to read your reports and determine how you move forward. Do you want more of a margin or to charge higher prices? Do you want to decrease expenses or invest in a new contractor? You need to spend the time to review your financial performance to make those decisions confidently.
Networking and building relationships: This might include attending industry conferences, meeting with potential partners or investors, and connecting with other business owners to stay current on industry trends and opportunities. The HerBusiness Network is where women in Australia come to connect with other female entrepreneurs who are also growing and scaling a business. So, the time invested each month to attend a Roundtable event, a Masterclass, or to engage with others in our online group is worth so much because every day, here is what we see come out of these connections and relationships
- Women are getting new clients
- Reaching more people
- Doing collaborations
- Sharing resources
- Finding suppliers
- And so much more…
When you’re working on your business in this way, you are investing in the future of your business, not just taking care of today.
These “On your business tasks” are what I call high-leverage tasks:
And by that, I mean the types of tasks that you reap the rewards for a long time when you put an hour of work in today.
While working IN the business is necessary to keep the day-to-day operations running smoothly, working ON the business is essential for long-term growth and success. By prioritising tasks that focus on strategic planning, system development, and market analysis, business owners can position themselves for sustained growth and profitability.
So, how do we do that?
It starts with your mindset.
Let go and start to delegate: As women, we’re often used to being in control and handling everything ourselves, but trying to do everything can be exhausting! Plus, there’s always more to do than there is time. That’s why getting the CEO mindset firmly in place is so important. Try delegating tasks to others on your team, and trust them to handle things as well as you would. They might even do a better job! Or, outsource a project … and get the help that takes you out of having to do the lower-level tasks. For example, say you have a launch coming up for a promotion. Your time is better spent making connections, building relationships, growing your audience, and connecting with your prospect than doing all the tech and the social images and scheduling every post.
Keep the big picture in mind: It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day details of running a business, but try to take a step back and look at the big picture. What are your long-term goals? What is your highest priority 12-month goal? That is the prize that you want to keep your eyes on. The more you spend time each week working towards it, the more likely you’re going to hit that goal. So what can you do today to help you get closer to that goal?
Keep growing and learning: There’s always room for growth and improvement. And sometimes, we can be our own worst enemies when it comes to mindset. So keep reading business books, attending conferences, and seeking mentorship opportunities to inspire and motivate yourself. Consistency is so crucial. You may need to get it right first, but keep your commitment to work more ON your business.
By embracing these mindset shifts, you can position yourself for success in the long term, freeing up time and energy to focus on high-leverage work and strategic planning that will help your business thrive.
So, if you’re not spending enough time ON your business… here’s where I recommend you start.
Allocate 10% of your time to working ON your business. That’s a great place to start, and you can build from there.
So, if you’re working 40 hours, that’s four hours.
Now, here’s the key. Like the examples I cited earlier, you want to lock those into your schedule and make them non-negotiable.
Choose a time when you won’t get interrupted by busy work. For example, I do high-leverage tasks first thing in the morning when I’m fresh and before the office opens works well.
The other place it works well is if I clear the day of all appointments and plonk those hours into a clear day.
Mentioned in This Episode: