Working In And On Your Business: 10 Tips For Finding A Balance

Linda ReyesBlogging, Forbes Coaches Counsel

Business owners must wear many hats. While they might be the president or CEO, they often also have to take on some less glamorous roles. Especially in the beginning, you have to do a lot of the hard work “in” the business to keep it afloat.

However, if you want to grow, you need to make time to work “on”your business and tackle higher-level strategic tasks like business development and planning. Forbes Coaches Council members understand the importance of this balance for entrepreneurs, and they’ve shared tips for achieving it.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council offer advice on balancing your time working on and in your business.PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.

1. Equally Spend Time Working, Marketing And Managing

Spend one-third of your time doing the work, spend one-third building the business (marketing, outreach and so on), and spend one-third of the time leading and managing your people. It’s a formula that has worked remarkably well. But the discipline is to not let immediate challenges divert you from the marketing and management roles. Don’t let the urgent drive out the important. – Helio Fred Garcia, Logos Consulting Group

2. Block Out Time For Strategic Thinking

An important habit to develop is time blocking and prioritizing that element in your calendar at least three times a week. During that time you can assess how to best serve the needs of your business. The important piece is that you are being proactive by carving out uninterrupted time to think strategically. Otherwise, your time can be spent in reactive mode, solely meeting the needs of others. – Carolina Caro

3. Treat Yourself Like Your Best Client

Prioritize working on the business time. Think of that time as if you were meeting with your best client. When meeting with a client, you wouldn’t miss the meeting or take calls and emails during that time. Treat your business as your most important client (because it is). Start with one hour per week and communicate with your team what that time is for and why it is important. – Erin Hoffman, Collaboration Business Consulting

4. Get Away From The Office For A New Perspective

If I do not get out of town to intentionally think about my business, I cannot come up with the right ideas I need next. Just last month I attended a weekend industry retreat. Even before I arrived in the host city of Louisville I had four pages of notes about things I needed to do and change in my business. Why didn’t this happen sitting at my desk or in my town? – John M. OConnor, Career Pro Inc.

5. Ease Into Working On Your Business

Business owners need to work both in and on the business, with 80% strategic time and 20% tactical. Yet most find it easier to work “in,” as one is doing action items, versus strategic thinking for planning and goal setting. “In-the-business” owners need to incrementally make one of their tactical actions be setting aside time to do a session of strategic planning. Over time it will get easier. – Rick Itzkowich, Vistage Chair San Diego

6. Develop A Calendar Of Strategic Updates

Business owners let the urgency of the day rule their time. Develop a strategic cadence that includes annual, quarterly and monthly strategic updates. These meetings should be scheduled and well-defined in advance. Narrow the agenda to letter grade and discuss these four things: people, strategic differentiation, execution and financial performance. – Chuck Gulledge, Business Coach & Advisor || Creating Disciplined Leaders

7. Build An Effective System First

Most successful businesses run on systems. A system is “a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done.” Think fast-food franchises. They nearly run themselves because of their systems and virtually guarantee success for their owners. Your business is no different. Once you set up systems which can be run by others, you can focus on what really matters, like growth/profits. – Daniel Ortiz, Latino Success Academy

8. Don’t Be Afraid To Delegate

It is important for business owners to delegate and empower their employees so they may spend more time expanding the business. You are losing time and money each day you don’t properly balance the two. The more you allow your employees to take the reins on the daily tasks of the business, the more you can focus on strategically expanding it. – Mika Hunter, Female Defender

9. Ask Yourself Whose Job You’re Doing Now

For business owners who are sometimes guilty of being too immersed in the day-to-day “doing” of their business, ask yourself, “Whose job am I doing now?” When you do a job that someone else is capable of, you rob that person of the opportunity to do what he/she is uniquely qualified to do, and you rob yourself (and your business) of your opportunity to do what you are uniquely qualified to do. – Julie Colbrese, MCC, Hot Coffee Coaching

10. Make Yourself Accountable To Someone Else

Leaders must accept that working on the business is essential to long-term growth and prosperity and begin to schedule this effort, just like essential day-to-day. Sticking with it requires accountability, which is a great way to use an executive coach! If commitment to working on the business is a challenge, then paying for a professional to walk that path with you can be an excellent investment. – Sarah Beth Aubrey, Aubrey Coaching & Training ACT, LLC

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of leading business coaches and career coaches. Find out if you qualify at