Working ON Your Business vs. IN It

Navigating Success: The Art of Working ON Your Business

As a tradie, your days are likely filled with hands-on work, from managing on-site tasks to ensuring everything runs smoothly. It’s a grind you’re well accustomed to, but amidst the hustle, it’s crucial to differentiate between working IN your business and working ON your business. Understanding this distinction is vital for growth, sustainability, and ultimately, success. Let’s break down what this means for you and how you can leverage this approach to elevate your business.

Working IN Your Business: The Immediate Grind

Working IN your business involves the day-to-day operations that keep your business running. This includes tasks such as scheduling jobs, ordering materials, meeting clients and writing up quotes, managing admin and payroll, and putting out fires as they arise. It’s the groundwork, the essential labour that brings in the immediate cash flow but often keeps you caught in a never-ending cycle of hands-on work. While necessary, it’s a role that focuses on the present, leaving little room for growth or strategic planning.

Working ON Your Business: The Strategic Vision

In contrast, working ON your business is about stepping back and taking a strategic view. It involves planning for the future, setting goals, developing systems, and processes that ensure your business can run without your constant, hands-on involvement in daily tasks.

This might include:

  • Delegating and Outsourcing: Identifying tasks that can be delegated to employees or outsourced to free up your time for more strategic work.
  • Systems and Processes: Implementing systems and processes that improve efficiency, from customer management software to streamlined invoicing and billing systems.
  • Marketing: Building a brand, developing a marketing strategy to attract new clients, and establishing a strong online presence.
  • Financial Planning: Setting financial goals, budgeting, and planning for investments in tools, technology, or additional manpower to support growth.
  • Training and Development: Investing in training for yourself and your team to improve skills, expand services, and enhance overall quality.
tradies office desk
Laptop with blank screen on the engineer desk.

Why It’s Crucial to Work ON Your Business

Focusing solely on working IN your business can lead to burnout and stagnation. On the other hand, taking the time to work ON your business sets the foundation for sustainable growth, resilience, and a competitive edge in the market. It’s about creating a business that thrives, not just survives.

Here are a few tips on how to shift your focus:

Schedule Strategic Time: Dedicate regular, uninterrupted time to strategic planning and review. Treat it as non-negotiable as any client appointment.

Leverage Technology: Use technology to automate routine tasks where possible, freeing up your time for more strategic endeavours.

Educate Yourself: Invest in learning about business management, leadership, and industry trends. Knowledge is power when it comes to strategic growth.

Build a Trusted Team: Surround yourself with a competent team that can handle day-to-day operations, allowing you to focus on big-picture planning.

Seek Advice: Don’t shy away from consulting with mentors, business coaches (like me), or industry peers. External perspectives can provide invaluable insights.

For tradies, the difference between working IN your business and ON your business is the difference between just getting by and truly thriving. While the hands-on work of servicing clients is crucial, it’s equally important to step back, strategise, and plan for the future. By dedicating time to work ON your business, you’re investing in its growth, sustainability, and your own personal development as a business owner.

Remember, the goal is not just to create a job for yourself but to build a business that grows, innovates, and leads in the industry. Start today, and watch your business transform from a demanding job into a thriving enterprise.

If you struggling to get started call me today.  0409 402 474

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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