Take yourself out of your business for one day!

You may often hear people like me (aka Business Coaches and the like) banging on about the need to spend more time working ON your business and less time working in it.

But just what does that mean?

What exactly should you be doing in that time working ON your business?

Firstly, it definitely doesn’t meaning spending an hour or so on social media, reading newsfeeds, sharing funny quotes and re-tweeting other people’s content.

As a general rule of thumb, working ON your business is about working on longer term goals rather than short term wins.

It’s about getting back in control, versus feeling out of control.

It’s about being proactive instead of reactive.

It’s about growing your business, as opposed to maintaining it.

It’s the important, non-urgent work, not the urgent but unimportant stuff.

Working IN your business is where most small business owners are spending their time – in other words, they’re doing a ‘job’.

In order to grow your business and achieve your goals, you simply have to commit to spending some time to work ON it.

But, you may still be struggling to understand exactly what this means to your business, and just what exactly these important jobs are that you should be doing.

So, to help you do this, here are some specific areas you should be focusing on as a business owner, and where you can work ON your business.

Strategic Planning

This is about stepping out of the day to day, and looking at your business from a ‘big picture’ perspective.

Typical activities to consider here include:

  • Produce a Marketing plan
  • Review your goals and long term objectives
  • Competitor research
  • Assess the resources you need to achieve your goals e.g. new website, new premises, team members etc.

Profit Planning

This is about understanding where your profit comes from, what your targets are and how to manage your business to achieve these targets.

Typical activities to consider here include:

  • Review your pricing and margins
  • Monitor and manage your outgoings
  • Assess how to increase customer average spend
  • Negotiate with your suppliers


This is about being clear on who your target client is, communicating your message to them, and building the relationship.

Typical activities to consider here include:

  • Implement your Marketing plan
  • Follow up on leads
  • Design and review your ideal client profile
  • Keep in touch with current and past clients

Your Team

This is about making sure you have the right people, and the right skillset, around you to grow your business and achieve your objectives.

Typical activities to consider here include:

  • Delegate more of the ‘job’ type work
  • Develop and lead your team, whether inhouse or outsourced
  • Identify and create the job descriptions for your team
  • Your own development as a leader and a business owner (often overlooked!)

Innovation & Product Development

This is your creative time, to assess and improve your current offerings and identify which new ones to progress.

Typical activities include:

  • Review your current offerings and see how you can improve them
  • Decide which offers to remove if they are not selling or not profitable
  • Progress ideas for new offers and test them
  • Survey your customers for their feedback

Systems & Processes

This is all about putting systems and processes in place that will free up your time from doing the ‘job’, and improve the customer experience

Typical activities include:

  • Automate your monthly invoicing
  • Standardise your new customer process
  • Map out your credit control process
  • Create templates of emails and documents that you regularly use

So, the above suggestions should have given you some ideas on exactly what you should be doing to work ON your business, but how do you fit the time in to get it done?

Here’s how


Schedule in your diary for an hour at the start of each day to work ON your business. If you can’t manage an hour, then do what you can. If you can’t manage each day, then do what you can. You’ll be amazed at the progress you can make in just 30 minutes, 3 times a week.


Schedule in a day (or half-day) to focus on the business owner tasks.


Take yourself out of your business for a day, solely to work ON your business.

Book these times in your diary right now, and then do it!

No-one else can make it happen except you.

What action are you going to take right now? Leave a comment to let me know.

Alison Bradford

Alison Bradford is a business coach, working with ambitious and driven small business owners, to help them grow their business and make more money, without putting in more and more time. After many years experience in senior roles in blue chip companies in the UK such as Vodafone and Swinton Insurance, she now runs her business coaching company from Staffordshire, working with clients all over the UK via phone and Skype. You can download her free checklist, 6 Quick & Easy Ways To Boost Your Profit (Without Having To Find More Customers) here

Be the change that you want to see. Step into your leadership.