Work “ON” Your Business, Not “IN” It…

You’ve probably heard this before: “Do you own a business or do you OWN YOUR JOB?” 

Another way I’ve heard it is, “It’s better to work ON your business rather than work IN your business.” 

I bet I heard both these phrases dozens of times in the first five years after starting my own business. 

“Stewart, you need to be working on your business, not in it!!!”  

I had no idea what that meant, and that lack of comprehension led to many classic mistakes. Facing rapid expansion early in my business career, I hired on a professional with similar experience and years in the workforce. That was the last thing I should have done! It only solved the immediate capacity problem, not my need to scale the business.   

I actually didn’t fully understand the power of working ON my business until years later when I sat on the board of a small non-profit alongside a real-estate developer I respected. He became a mentor of sorts, and when it was demonstrated for me, the concept clicked. I’m usually too eager to fix the current problem to recognize when I should be figuring out how the problem arose and implementing systems to correct the issue before it occurs again.

You can also check out this article in Inc. Magazine that discusses this classic entrepreneurial malady. I highly recommend this whole series of E-Myth books, as well, which are loaded with great advice and tips on how to implement “working ON your business.”

For more reading recommendations, or to discuss other entrepreneurial maladies, contact Harvard Grace Corporation at

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