How Much Time Should You Spend Working on Your Business?

Finding the Right Balance: How Much Time Should You Spend Working on Your Business?

As a tradesperson-turned-business owner, it’s natural to find joy in the hands-on work of your trade. However, for your business to thrive and achieve long-term success, it is essential to dedicate sufficient time to working on your business rather than just in it. Let’s now explore the importance of allocating time to focus on the growth and development of your business. By striking the right balance between working on and in your business, you can unlock its full potential.

The Love for Your Trade:

Many business owners are drawn to their trades due to a genuine passion for their craft. The immediate gratification of performing tasks and earning money can make it tempting to spend most of your time on the tools. However, it’s important to recognise that working on your business is equally vital for its long-term success. It involves tasks that may not offer immediate rewards but contribute significantly to growth and profitability.

What Does Working on Your Business Entail?

Working on your business means focusing on activities beyond the physical tasks of your trade. Here are a few examples:

a. Job Management Systems: Optimising and configuring software systems like “Simpro” or “Fergus” to enhance efficiency and streamline operations.

b. Defining Culture: Developing a strong organisational culture that attracts and retains the right employees, fostering a positive work environment.

c. Pricing and Recruiting Systems: Analysing and improving pricing strategies or implementing effective recruitment processes to support business growth.

These tasks, while not as immediately rewarding as hands-on work, are crucial for expanding your business and maximising its potential.

The Importance of Time Investment:

Working on your business is the key to accelerating its growth rate. The more time and effort you invest in improving systems, refining processes, and building a solid foundation, the faster your business will progress. These endeavours are the limiting factors that determine your business’s ability to scale and thrive.

Determining the Right Balance:

The amount of time you should allocate to working on your business depends on various factors, including the nature of your trade and the size of your team. While there is no definitive answer, here’s a general guide:

a. A 2/3 man business: probably needs at least 4 days a week on the tools

b. A five man business: Suppose you own a business with a team of approximately five employees. In that case, it is advisable to limit your time on the tools to no more than three days a week. Dedicate at least two days to working on your business, focusing on crucial growth-oriented tasks.

c. A ten man plus business: the owner shouldn’t be working on the tools at all (except for training staff) but should be running all aspects of the business.

Finding the right balance between working on your business and working in it is essential for the sustainable growth of your tradie business. While it’s tempting to get on the tools your business will require more of your time on the business the more your business grows.

To explore more practical tips and strategies, get a free copy of my book “The Wealthy Tradie – How To Make Your Business Rake In The Cash.”


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Hugh Bowman is a specialist in business coaching for trade businesses and is a former engineer and technical expert. He has lived and worked in many parts of regional Victoria coaching tradie business owners.

Ph: 0409 402 474