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Leading with Intent: Differences Between Working "On" and "In" Your Business How to balance both strategies to achieve maximum success.

By Adam Povlitz Edited by Carl Stoffers

Key Takeaways

  • It is crucial to distinguish between working 'on' your business, which involves strategy, long-term planning, and vision development, and working 'in' your business, which focuses on operational functions and day-to-day tasks.
  • Business leaders should clearly define their role in relation to the organization's structure, create a leadership style aligned with company objectives, and understand team dynamics.
  • Building a successful business requires a clear vision and setting measurable goals.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As a business leader, it's essential to understand the differences between working on and in your business. When discussing working 'on' your business, I refer to strategy, long-term planning, and analysis. These actions involve the development of the overall vision for the organization and how to implement that vision. On the other hand, when discussing working 'in' your business, I'm talking about operational functions such as implementation and day-to-day tasks. This involves taking those actionable steps to bring your vision to life.

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Business owners must balance both types of activities to achieve success. Working on your business can provide invaluable insights into potential opportunities to capitalize on or threats to address. At the same time, focusing too much on this type of work could mean neglecting operational tasks necessary for achieving progress toward goals. Equally important is understanding which areas require attention – from customer service practices to employees' daily tasks – so you can ensure everything is running smoothly.

Clearly understanding these differences can help you create a successful plan for your business and ensure everyone is on board with the company's mission and goals. It allows you to evaluate performance objectively and adjust accordingly to reach desired outcomes more efficiently and effectively.

Related: 10 Tips to Go From Employee to Boss, From Franchisees Who Did It

Defining your role as a leader

Business owners must define their role to properly manage the dissimilarities between working on and in the business. Start by studying the existing organizational structure to pinpoint areas that can be enhanced and make any necessary adjustments. Create a leadership style that suits your company's objectives, goals, and values while considering the varying roles and how they collaborate.

Take note of each team member's strengths and weaknesses so you can construct a more productive team setting. Set goals for performance and hold every individual accountable for their actions. This will help uphold exceptional standards throughout the group and guarantee everyone aims to achieve the same target.

Communicate any modifications or fresh initiatives with your team so everyone is well-informed. With this guidance, leaders can devise a prosperous plan for their organization and ensure their staff are heading in the right direction.

Creating a vision and setting goals

Building a successful business requires clear and focused direction. To achieve this, it's crucial to plan and set achievable goals. This involves creating an overall mission statement that outlines the purpose of the company and its objectives. Once this is established, strategies can be developed, and goals can be set with measurable timelines to track progress.

When developing a plan for success, you must consider potential risks or challenges that could arise. Anticipating these issues will help create contingency plans or adjust existing strategies. Furthermore, everyone in the business should understand their role in achieving the outcome - this will ensure better collaboration between team members, contributing significantly towards meeting goals efficiently and effectively.

Related: This new government rule will crush franchising as we know it. Here's what you can do.

Identifying opportunities for improvement

Discovering chances for growth is a critical element of building a business. Leaders must be able to spot places where improvements can be made and then implement the necessary adjustments. Doing so assists in ensuring their team is on track and moving toward objectives.

One way to discover opportunities for improvement is through surveying staff members. Surveys can inform how well leaders understand the organization's mission and values and each person's role in attaining desired results. In addition, surveys offer valuable feedback concerning existing workflow processes or external factors impacting the business, such as customer service issues or product quality challenges.

Business leaders should analyze client feedback and employee performance data to recognize potential areas of improvement. This data offers insight into client expectations, product or service performance, and employee proficiency. This information helps create a plan to increase customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, improve revenue, or streamline procedures.

External elements such as market trends and competitor tactics must also be considered when locating a company's development options. By understanding how industry advancements might influence their company model, business leaders can construct strategies to keep them ahead of the competition while effectively meeting customer requirements.

Evaluating performance and adjusting

For a business to reach its most significant potential, leaders must be willing to evaluate performance and make necessary adjustments proactively. This involves setting clear KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure progress, collect stakeholder feedback, and regularly review strategies against set objectives. It's also important for leaders to remain open-minded to take advantage of changing trends and innovative solutions.

Taking these steps to understand the differences between working "on" and "in" your business ensures you're advancing toward goals and objectives while remaining viable and competitive.

Adam Povlitz

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Chief Executive Officer & President of Anago Cleaning Systems

Adam Povlitz is CEO and president of Anago Cleaning Systems, one of the world’s leading franchised commercial cleaning companies, and a leader in technological advances relating to business operations and facilities services with over 1,800 franchisees across North America.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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