Running your own business can be very challenging and quite often, the risk that comes with it outweighs its reward. According to research, two-thirds of businesses with employees survive their first year in business, half make it to five years, and only one-third will make it to ten!

The reason for failure? 82% was because of cash flow problems, 27% have no clue how much funding they require, and 14% of businesses aren’t capable of mitigating various risks. But as you observe these statistics, one can easily infer why they fail. If two-thirds of businesses can survive for a year but not for ten years, then the main reason lies with the lack of long-term planning.

This is the problem with working IN your business instead of working ON it. 

Working IN your business means that you spend most of your time doing day-to-day tasks such as sending emails to customers, answering inquiries, scheduling meetings, paying invoices, and even delivering products – activities that can easily be done by other people. While this is a normal stage in any start-up business, it’s important to remember that the majority of business owners get caught up with these repetitive tasks, leaving them with no time to assess and strategize for their future plans!

The main difference between working IN and working ON your business lies in how your time is spent. Rather than spending most of the day doing an arduous task, it’s best if you can take time in identifying problems, creating systems, establishing partnerships, and working ON your business. 

Here are some easy steps to help you get started:

  •  Reassess your objectives
  • Outsource or automate time-consuming tasks
  • Improve business plans and strategies

 Reassess your objectives

If you don’t know how to start working ON your business, think of the reason why you became an entrepreneur. Most likely, it has something to do with personal freedom, having the time to do whatever you want, being in charge of your own life, and basically just creating your own environment while pursuing your passion. 

Now, do you think you have achieved this?

It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset where you, as the owner, are the only one capable of doing your company’s tasks. But doing 100% of the work also means that the whole business operation solely depends on you.


Outsource or automate time-consuming tasks

Research suggested that 90% of employees are being burdened with boring and repetitive tasks. So, I am sure you are well aware of how tiring and stressful it can be when you are in charge of doing these time-consuming activities while also strategizing for your company’s long-term plans. 

This is where outsourcing is useful and convenient. It is said that 59% of companies outsource to reduce or control costs while 57% of them outsource to focus on core functions. Outsourcing doesn’t only increase efficiency, but it can also free up a lot of your time so you can focus on more important matters.

Another option that you have is to use automation tools wherein manual processes are replaced with automation to minimize cost and improve operational stability. In fact, 74% of marketers say that automation saves them time and another study reveals how sales productivity grew by 14.5% when automation was used.

So, the next time you find yourself doing daily tasks, think carefully and assess if they are really worth your time or if it is something somebody else or maybe even a software can do for you.


Improve business plans and strategies

What will you do if there’s a sudden conflict in manufacturing? What about your long term goals? Are you planning to expand your business? If an economic recession occurs, what will you do?

Lack of contingency plans leads to poor execution of strategies which is basically the tipping point for business failure. However, 85% of leadership teams are said to spend less than one hour per month on evaluating plans and 50% of them don’t even spend time working on their strategies! 

Given the fact that business failure is often identified with the lack of long-term plans, it’s obviously important to improve your strategies continuously and track your company’s performance so you can easily identify when something’s wrong.

Working IN your business is just ensuring that your company survives the following day.

Working ON your business means that you strive for sustainability for the next 5-10 years.

Provided that proper guidance and instructions are given, a competent employee can work in your business. But only you can work on it and rather than simply maintaining, you can easily prioritize your company’s growth and development. Because if you won’t think of your company’s future plans, then who will?



Chet Holmes was a trailblazing and brilliant businessman. His legacy lives on through our continued teaching of his principles and innovations in growing your business. We would love to invite you to take part in a quick 7 minute strategy call where we will provide a breakthrough for you in that short amount of time. This free session is the quickest, most effective way we know how to make meaningful impacts in our cherished audience’s businesses. Schedule your call here.