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Certified WBENC Women's Business Enterprise

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Women business owners: Finding time to work on your business

by Renita Van Dusen

Women and multitasking. Sometimes these two words seem inseparable – and that’s especially true with women business owners. Many of us are juggling work, family, and more, yet we thrive on the sense of accomplishment we get from “doing it all.” When it comes to business, however, many of us might not be focusing on the right “all.” That’s where we need to think about the difference between strategic and tactical: the difference between working IN our business and working ON our business.

What do we mean when we say IN versus ON? IN refers to the everyday duties that have to be done. ON refers to the strategy behind our company: the drive to make it better. Here’s an example. Audra, a friend of an associate, owns an art studio named The Fire, which she started as a paint-your-own pottery and mosaic studio. In the first few years of her business, she did everything: unpacking pottery, greeting customers, firing kilns. But as the business got more successful, friends and employees started noticing Audra wasn’t always IN the business: She increasingly trusted employees to take care of some everyday tasks.

So where was Audra? Well, she wasn’t getting lazy: She was smart enough to devote an increasing amount of time ON her business. In those hidden hours, Audra developed a successful summer kids camp program. She also explored and then introduced glass fusing: a wildly successful offering. So Audra grew her business – and she wouldn’t have been able to do this if she was constantly IN her business.

This is a lesson all business owners can learn. Ask yourself: What percentage of time do you find you work ON your business versus IN your business? The answer might surprise you.

In Affina’s recent e-newsletter, I tackle how to become a better leader by working ON your business, with some inspirational thoughts and tactics. And, if you’re interested, consider subscribing to Affina’s bi-monthly e-newsletter. Enjoy!