One of the biggest mistakes most business operators make is to get so caught up in the day-to-day operation of an enterprise that they fail to work on, not just in, their business.

So how do you shift the focus? Well it’s about prioritising, keeping the big picture in mind, and knowing when to delegate tasks to other staff members or an external person.

Let’s delve a little deeper…

Make time

Every business owner should be setting aside a specific block of time to work on their busines – whether that involves looking at the figures, setting goals, planning, or revising policy.

In theory that sounds easy, but as any business operator will tell you, this time often falls by the wayside when other, more immediate “dollar productive” tasks pop up.

In other words, it’s easy to defer going through your figures when the opportunity to quote on a new project or actually complete a job arises.

The important thing to remember here is that working on your business builds income for the long run, positioning you where you want to be in the future, while working in your business meets an immediate need right now.

So how do you resolve these two opposing business elements?

Consider it an investment

Although it might be hard to quantify in dollar terms, it’s critical to recognise that planning, revising and preparing are actually income producing tasks – you just don’t tend to see the results immediately.

Instead, these tasks are an investment in your business. So factor it into your business costs and allocate sufficient time within the working week when you essentially pay yourself for your expert business insight.


If you’re finding you do not have the time to work on your business due to interruptions or the fact you are on the job, it’s time to look at delegating the more menial tasks during set periods.

Is there someone else in your business who could handle incoming phone calls for an hour? Could you outsource the invoicing? Is there software that might make your work more efficient, so you have a little time to spare?

Make it part of your routine

Whether it’s Friday afternoon, or first thing Monday morning, block time in your calendar and stick to it. This is a period when you are unavailable to take calls, answer emails, schedule meetings or see staff. Unless it is an emergency, this block of time is non-negotiable.

Remember it doesn’t have to be a whole day. Even just an hour a week starts to add up when it comes to working on where you want your business to go.

Have your files and notes accessible

There’s no point spending half of your allotted planning time seeking out the documents you need and looking for notes you have previously taken.

Have a dedicated folder, drawer, shelf or file where your business planning information resides. Keep this information separate from other tasks so you can easily come back to it and pick up where you left off previously.

Keep the big picture front of mind

Working on your business allows it to build momentum over time. It enables you to chart where you want to go personally and professionally then set goals and meet them.

It’s about the big-picture not the fine print, and when you keep that front of mind and make working on your business a habit, you will find you have greater clarity and an improved ability to take your business where you want it to go.