Are you Working FOR or ON your Business?

On the surface this sounds like a trivial question to ask. After all, when you own your business you are expected to take care of everything. Whether you do it by working FOR or ON your business should not be relevant. However, when you read the question carefully you realize that there is a subtle difference between the two. How you approach it can have long-term implications for you and your business.
So what is the difference between working FOR and working ON your business?

There are several characteristics that come to mind when you look at the two choices. You are approaching the business with an employee mindset when working FOR your business. You try to take care of everything yourself. It also implies that you are occupied with day-to-day duties of running the business without having time to think about long-term success of the business. You are fighting fires and trying to get through it every day.
People working ON the business, on the other hand, approach it with a very different mindset. They have long-term plan to take their business to the next level. They are approaching it with the entrepreneurial mindset. That means they do not get bogged down in day-to-day worries of running the business. Instead they will sacrifice short-term gains, if they have to, to position the business for long-term success. They invest in the future of the business rather than harvesting it for the short-term gain.
You can find examples of the people who worked ON their business and created some of the most successful companies of today. Michael Dell of Dell Computers started his business in the college dorm by building and selling computers to his friends and families. He could have continued running his “small business” and make decent money along the way. That’s not what he was after! He wanted to create the world’s biggest computer company and he did so by thinking long-term. Number of other examples comes to mind in which their founders approached their small business with a similar mindset. Bill Gates of Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and so on. Now, compare this to your neighborhood store owner, who has been running it for the last 10 years and you will understand the difference between the two options.
Now, we are not saying there is anything particularly wrong with working FOR your business and running it in a day-to-day fashion. Which option is better depends on what you want to make out of the business. If your goal is to make a lasting impression on the world and build a great company for the foreseeable future you need to think about working ON your business. On the other hand, if you are happy with owning a small business and generating decent cash flow to sustain your family there is nothing wrong in working FOR your business. Just be mindful of what you are after and take corresponding actions.
In the next post we will show how what actions you need to take to build great, long-lasting company by working ON your business.

Image Courtesy:   gammaman

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