Keys To Success: Working On Your Business Keys To Success: Working On Your Business

Michael Gerber in The E Myth Revisited shows the path to small business success is, in the long run, working on your business, not working in your business. For most of us self-employed business owners, entrepreneurs and solo professionals we start out by working in our business.

Working in your business is about being the technician. Or, it can be about being the manager. You create or produce the product or service from start to finish. You are also the manager of all the work. That’s the way most of us start. We are both the manager and the technician. Yet, to have true success you must move from primarily working in your business to a mode where you are working on your business.

Working On Your Business
Working on your business as opposed to working in your business occurs when you are able to step back and do the following:


  1. Recapture and refine your entrepreneurial vision
  2. Create plans, such as a marketing business plan for future growth
  3. Define your vision of the future and set goals where you will measure yourself and your progress.


Working on your business is about you being the leader. It is not about you always being led by circumstances and things. Working in your business is about reacting to whatever comes up. Working on your business is planning for what is to come and how you want to respond to it.

Working On Your Business-Create Processes
One of the first steps to having more freedom and growth is to create the processes for future growth. It is impossible to work on your business if you have to be involved in every facet.

Start the process of working on your business by writing down the processes. I know this sounds tedious. But, if you want freedom someday to work on your business you must do this.

Your processes are your foundation. Also, your business processes are the template that others can follow as you grow. And that takes us to the next step.

Working On Your Business-The First Employee
With your processes in place you are positioned business to hire your first employee. This can be a tough hurdle emotionally and mentally for many small business owners. Having a written process, even for the simplest things, is the first step to creating a job description. A process also provides the most critical aspect to hiring success, accountability.

With accountability you have control. You have control to where you have check points in the process and can step away from the process and be working on your business.

As a personal business coach I see the first employee as a right of passage to working on your business. I also see it fail, more often than not. Why? The small business owner feels overwhelmed and the response is to hire someone to relieve the load.

Unfortunately, there are no written processes and the job description is general. In other words, there are too many gaps. Too much is left up to the creativity, or lack thereof, of the person you hire. And the results, more often than not are not good.

Work On Your Business-Be Specific
Whether you are running a small business or starting your own business the simple fact is that there are numerable times where you will feel overwhelmed. This is normal. It comes from working exclusively in your business.

In business performance coaching to put clients in a position to work on their business I want them to be very specific. Generalities don’t work. They leave too much room for error.

Imagine if someone hired you to do the pole vault. They hire you because you have athletic ability. They give you a pole. You have a bar in front of you. They have given you the tools and now they expect you to jump over the bar.

In personal development coaching I have seen most people fail in this situation because of lack of specific techniques to achieve what is desired.

This is the way most small businesses hire. They want an employee. But when it comes to specifically how the employee is going to achieve the desired result the directions are missing. As a result, in small business hiring there is huge turnover and a loss of productivity for the business.

Start working on your business today. Refine the vision that first captured your imagination. Create the processes to fulfill your vision. Be specific in what you want and do. When you start working on your business you move from being a wandering generality to a meaningful specific and to greater growth and success.

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