How to join the ‘working ON the business’ club

By Edward Plant

I’m a bit sick of hearing the line: “I’ve got to work on the business more.”

I think it’s BULLSHIT.

And it’s hurting your business.

Here’s why….

You are setting yourself up for failure.  You are setting expectations that you are not going to live up to.

You are pressuring yourself to do something that is nearly impossible.

You don’t have time for it.

You will no doubt have heard this common  saying, “Work on your business, not in it”. The truth is you won’t make time for it because there are 300 other things that need your attention.

In a ‘dream world’ we could say “make time for it” and you’d drop everything, your business would survive and you’d seamlessly start “working on the business”.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this fairytale won’t just happen.

Sure, there are some folks who get this right and they are probably the big advocates of working on the business. They have the time to do this. They are not critical in all aspects of their business. And they spend time on the business on a regular basis.

They have reached a level that allows them to “Work On” the business.  They see exponential results directly from having used their time in this way.

And it definitely pays dividends. No arguments there from me.

However, for most of you, it’s adding an extra thing to your already full plate.

And you just won’t get there. Not on your own. Something needs to change.

Now, I’m not saying don’t work on your business, but for some it’s a surefire recipe for failure.

So if working on the business may not be possible right now for you, does that mean that you should  just work in the business until your situation changes?


Let me just be clear: staying working in your business is a recipe for a heart attack (unless, of course, you want to stay small and are happy with that – if that’s you, embrace it and love it!).

If that’s not you, though, and you want to create a legacy and a business that creates opportunities for you and your family, then you will definitely need to work on your business.

I would like to suggest a different way to do this.

I would suggest that working on the business may be a stretch if you’ve never done it before.  Most people can’t check out for a couple of hours each week to do this.

So what’s the alternative?

I’d like to propose a proven East meets West solution.

It’s a blend of “on” whilst “in” the business.

So what do I mean?

I mean create a single page business map — in the Army we called this a “Battle Plan”.

This is a plan that is going to help you achieve your 12-month goals and beyond.

On this page have the top 3 projects you need to focus on in the next 90 days to create momentum towards your 12-month goal.

Create these projects so that they align with high-priority work that you are already doing. Then slowly introduce into your weekly rhythm the action you need to take to achieve these projects.

This way you will start implementing “work on your business” stuff into your business on a weekly basis. If you do 3 actions towards each project every week in 90 days you will be further ahead than you’ve ever been and much more likely to have achieved your projects.

This, my friend, is the art of leading your business differently.

It is the art of Strategic Implementation.

It is the East meets West of the “Work on not in” world.

It is the “Working on the business, in your business” solution that I guarantee will propel your results forward.

Remember, giving the finger to the working on the business mindset isn’t for the faint-hearted, but the rewards are worth it.

If you could use some help to put this plan into action in your business, book in a time to chat with Ed  here.


About the Author

Edward is the Co-Founder and Lead Strategist at the Institute for Couples in Business. When he’s not nutting out smart strategies you’ll find him hanging out with wife and business partner Rebecca and his sons Samuel, 4, and Charles, 2. For the past seven years Ed has been working with business owners to double profits, halve hours and build self-sustaining business that thrives with or without you. Ed is also author of #1 best-seller Lead-The-Ship and a sought-after guest speaker who often gets mistaken for Prince Harry.