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Dear Business Owners: It's Time to Work on Your Business, Not in It It's really easy for business owners to get lost in the day-to-day of running a business. If that's you, here's why you need to take a step back and work on the big picture instead.

By Mark Kravietz

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As an entrepreneur, you're inherently always busy. You're constantly on the go, whether you're trying to spark new business or putting out fires for your company. Even when you come home tired from a busy day, you'll check your emails again and work a little more. Then you get up and do it again the next day.

Over the years, surveys have shown that business owners put in much more than a 40-hour week — often 50 or 60 hours. And while you may have lots of great ideas to grow your business, it's likely that you have a lot less time to execute them. While it's a true labor of love, it often feels like being on a hamster wheel.

Unfortunately, these are all symptoms of being lost inside your business. It's something all entrepreneurs feel at one point or another, but it's a sign to stop getting lost in the day-to-day hustle and work on your business. This feeling can sometimes bring anxiety, worry and even a loss of motivation.

Dedicating time to working on your business is essential, and it looks different for every entrepreneur. Let's take a closer look at why working on your business is so important and how to execute this practice.

Related: To Level Up, You'll Need to Take a Step Back

Why it's essential to work on your business

It's up to company leadership — likely you — to set goals, consider the future and find solutions for friction within the business. You're responsible for the big picture. You will be more genuinely motivated to grow your business than anyone on your team. But if you're focusing on daily tasks instead of strategizing for future success, the company could suffer in the long run.

Instead of handling the regular tasks, start delegating them to other team members so you can spend time on projects that lend themselves to the larger picture. Having the ability to trust others to get things done is essential for the longevity of your business.

If you get burnt out, you won't be able to lead the company! Although it may take some getting used to, it's a necessary move to keep your business on the right trajectory.

Related: Work On--Not In--Your Business

What working on your business looks like

Working on your business will look different from completing daily tasks of working with customers, managing employees or updating your website. Instead, you'll:

  • Walk away from the day-to-day and think about your business. Instead of spending all your time working on project-related tasks, make it a habit to spend time strategizing about your business. Spending 10-20% of your time on business development is recommended. Use this scheduled time to think ahead and start outlining plans for success.
  • Write down goals. What are your goals for the business? If you still need to get short, intermediate and long-term goals on your radar, now is the time to create them. Studies have shown that actually writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them. What do you want to accomplish in the next one to five years? From there, break your goals into smaller, more achievable quarterly or monthly goals and set calendar reminders to keep yourself on track. Invite one person you trust to be a sounding board on your goals and hold you accountable to execute them.
  • Consider your role. If you're used to working on daily tasks, it's time to re-evaluate your position as a business owner. It's your job to have the larger picture in mind and work on business moves to bring the company vision to life. How can you make adjustments to focus on the larger goals you set for the business? I had a client that was involved all day-to-day aspects of the company. He was stressed and felt stuck in his position because he didn't have anyone that he trusted to take on some of his roles. I suggested that he start by giving some of the easier, time-consuming roles to his employees. Once they showed they can perform that, then take more complex roles and give it to them. This process took time, but the outcome was fantastic. Within a year, he had more time, the company was more productive and they had accelerated growth.
  • Document and delegate. Write down all the tasks each person at your company needs to do to be successful. Review these tasks regularly with each employee to make sure they are on the same page. They, like you, want to be on a winning team and would have significant input on how to succeed. These will be your most important meetings of the year. Leave room for flexibility for as the company grows, roles can change and communication is the key to continuous development.
  • Hold yourself accountable. Making changes is difficult for everyone, even entrepreneurs. It's helpful to have people and plans in place to hold you accountable. Revisit your goals and make plans to check in with yourself regularly, such as setting calendar goals. Meet with other company leaders about their goals. Are you on track to reaching your goals? If not, what can you do to get there? If necessary, consider hiring a business coach to help hold yourself accountable.

Related: Lessons From Famous Founders: When It's Time To Take a Step Back

As a business owner, it's not easy to keep your hands off what's happening with the company every day. After all, you're the one who cares the most about the success of the business. But in the long run, dedicating time to working on your business — instead of in it — will lead you to a more fulfilling, profitable and enjoyable business and life.

Mark Kravietz

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor


As the managing partner and founder of ALINE Wealth, Mark Kravietz, CEPA®, CFP® and CIMA®, specializes in exit planning. He was named to Forbes’ 2019-2023 Best-In-State wealth advisors. Mark hosts a podcast discussing how to successfully exit your business called “Find Your Exit."

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