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Recently I delivered a session to a group of small businesses about how to work on the business instead of in the business.

On my journeys I have found that while a lot of people want to be able to work on the business, they get stuck working in the business. Yet when they do finally get some time to work on the business, they have no idea of what to actually do. In fact what does it even mean to work on the business?

Working on the business can be a wide variety of things to a wide variety of businesses. But ultimately it is the things that will help you and your business achieve its goals and be even more successful. To help I have put together a list of some of the things that you should be doing when working on the business.

  • KPIs – set, measure and monitor key metrics
  • Culture and values – define what your business is, what does it stand for and what’s important
  • Vision and purpose – why does your business exist
  • Strategy and goals – what do you want to achieve and when
  • Growth – how will you become bigger, or what can you do to expand your offering
  • Strategic partnerships & relationships – who should you be in business with, who do you need to be talking to that will help you to grow and achieve your vision
  • Customer experience – how can you delight your customers, how can you differentiate yourself to create the best and most competitive experience
  • Blue Sky thinking – what are all the possibilities, where could you take your business, the sky is the limit
  • Marketing – how to get the word out, how to embrace the digital marketing revolution, what is your brand
  • People development – grow your team capability, create a high performing team by spending time coaching them

Importantly you must actually allocate time to work on the business. Ideally you should spend at least one day a week working on the business, but if this seems impossible right now then start with at least dedicating two hours a week to “time out”.

Once you have your “time out” try to start working on the areas of biggest priority for your business. Usually a good place to start is with the blue sky thinking, then working on your vision and purpose. These two elements will set the direction for some of the other focus points.

I recently came across a quote that perfectly summarises why it’s so important for every business owner to spend time working ON the business: “If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business”.

And unfortunately this is absolutely true. So make sure you step out and start to drive your business today.

What do you think?

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Jana Krizova Hocken

Jana Krizova Hocken

Jana is the founder of <a href="http://improve8.com/">Improve8</a>, and has 12 years of experience using best practice methodologies to help some of the leading companies globally to continuously improve, and be more productive, lean, competitive, profitable and customer focused. She is now sharing this knowledge and empowering small businesses in Australia and NZ with the skills, tools and thinking they need to improve and achieve their potential. Follow her on Twitter @improve8co

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