Working "IN" the Business vs. Working "ON" the Business

Man working in front of the computer - Are you working ON your business?
Steve Thompson
Steve Thompson
December 7, 2020

Table of Contents


Understanding the difference between working in the business and working on the business can help streamline an operation. The former deals with affecting revenue directly while the latter is a business activity that doesn't directly generate revenue. Focusing on internet marketing that directly generates leads is an example of working in the business, whereas writing about industry ideas for the website is working on the business.

Working “IN” The Business

Woman working as an independent consultant

Independent consultants usually work in their business for a few clients, taking up the full work week. They often do hands-on work that a manager doesn't have time to do.

What holds many business owners back is they spend too much time on day-to-day activities that could be delegated to others. Too much focus working in the business limits the time the entrepreneur or the consultant can work on developing the company.

Hands-on Management

A manager is working in the business when it comes to internet marketing, scheduling and meeting with clients, doing administrative work, or hiring and training new employees. These various responsibilities are often delegated to specialists, but in small companies, a manager may wear many hats and take on diverse tasks.

Creating Products and Programs

Whenever management develops and introduces new offerings for customers it is working in the business, which may also encompass team training. Building product knowledge is an integral part of sales because a big part of conversions involves answering customer questions. Developing a program for a sales team to follow to increase revenue is an important step toward strengthening productivity.

Engaging with Followers

Person working replying on social media

A sales agent can engage with interested prospects online or in-person by delivering the service or product in a demonstration. Explaining how a product works in a video is an effective way to attract followers who have deeper questions. The video should give the web address where viewers can get further information.

This journey leads into the sales funnel. The more brand representatives engage with prospects and feed them interesting information, the warmer leads become. That's why it's important to have a content-rich website and an active social media page.

Dealing with Invoices

Whenever an employee sends out an invoice to a customer they are working in the business. Invoices are part of a money collection process and are important for financial records.

Handling Crises

Anytime a manager takes action on an immediate crisis he or she is helping the company get back to normal business activity. Letting disruptions and emergencies get out of control can lead to company downtime and loss of revenue.

Proactive management establishes a disaster recovery plan that includes steps to take in an emergency. Having this plan in place allows a manager to sleep better at night and focus on core business goals.

Working “ON” The Business

Hiring a new person

One of the keys to entrepreneurial success is to let other people work on the business. Hire others to manage people, design products, generate leads, and manage finance. Entrepreneurs should spend more of their time growing the business.

New businesses often fail within the first few years because they don't spend enough time working on the business. Spending a few hours a day on it can make a big difference. Helpful ways to work on a business include delegating, outsourcing, distinguishing the company from competitors, and asking employees for suggestions.

Blogging About an Industry

One of the best ways for a company to showcase its expertise in a niche is with a blog series. An effective blog is instrumental in attracting audiences.

The blog can get deep into industry issues that cannot be found on other websites. It can offer ideas on how to improve the industry and give insights on how to hire people that fit the system.

Developing Technical and Non-technical Systems

Creating systems for a business is part of working on the business. If a company wants to reward customers or employees, it should consider investing in loyalty program software.

Creating a business plan concept - Chalkboard with words like marketing, social network, strategy, etc.

Business Planning and Goal Setting

Strategic planning, funding, and forming partnerships are all important components of business planning. Goals and priorities should be periodically reviewed and evaluated. Technology keeps changing, so it's important to keep up with it and know when to invest in sophisticated systems such as automation.

Determining Milestones and Success Metrics

Analytics has become the research and development fuel for modern business. Studying a company's historical data can help set milestones that mark future company achievements.


An enterprise can become more efficient when weighing the difference between working in the business and working on the business. Entrepreneurs should find a balance between the two perspectives.

Focusing on internet marketing is the most reliable way to grow a business. Consider working with a seasoned digital marketer for gaining stronger online visibility.

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