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Working On, Not In Your Business

October 5, 2009

Recently I was asked the following question, “I’ve heard a lot about working ‘in’ your business as opposed to working ‘on’ your business. What’s the difference and where do I find that balance?” 

 Since I work extensively with women entrepreneurs I know when women start their own businesses, we are so passionate about what we create that sometimes we see our businesses as an extension of ourselves so we manage every detail to make sure it succeeds. Only over time do we gain the perspective that our companies can survive without every ounce of our personal attention.

Typically around a company’s third anniversary is when entrepreneurs start “turning away” business. At this point they know they can’t sustain or grow their business without delegating internal responsibilities so they can focus on larger goals to keep the business thriving. This is when finding the right employees, associates, partners or vendors can help a business owner move from working in their business to working on their business. Recognizing when you are at that point is essential; and then acting on it is imperative.

Planning can also be crucial in creating the right balance and so is courageous  leadership. We have to believe deeply and strong enough in our personal leadership traits to walk away from the time consuming detail work to lift our vision to higher grounds so we can expand our companies.  If you feel you can’t do that on your own, then hiring a personal coach, business advisor or leadership consultant might be what you need to move beyond your comfort zone to a larger role within your company.

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