On vs. In Your Business
Today was a full day -- my husband had surgery yesterday so there was a lot of time needed to tend to him, administering pain medication, etc. My kids had a fishing clinic this morning, so yeah, spent some time over there, baiting hooks (yuck!) and consoling my heartbroken, fish-less seven year old. Then, of course, there are Saturday chores and things to do to prepare for church tomorrow.
So, finally, this afternoon, I sat down at my desk to get some work done and I contemplated what to do first. Profit and loss statement for the business? Return my client's email? Research fingering for formula patterns for my Royal Conservatory students?
All of these are items on my to-list for this weekend, but there was something in me that reminded me of a very important principle in running a piano lesson business (or any work-at-home business venture for that matter).
Don't just work IN your business . . . work ON it.
All of those tasks I mentioned above? Important, worthy, some of them maybe even critical, but they are all tasks IN my business. They are things I have to do to make my business run well. I can't ignore my bookkeeping, I can't ignore my client, and I can't even ignore learning the fingering for a formula pattern. They are all tasks that are important for running my business.
But do they actually help my business grow and thrive? Not necessarily. Those are more maintaining tasks. They maintain my business. Which is, of course, valuable because I certainly don't want to do things that will hurt me.
To really make my business thrive, though, I must do things ON it. Things that have nothing to do with present day maintenance. Things that go above and beyond the day to day.
I first learned this concept listening to a podcast by Christy Wright of Business Boutique (love her!) and she told us to work on our business, not just in it. Working on it means I'm doing things that will, long term, pay off extremely well.
But here is the secret: working ON my business usually means working ON me. That's right. Investing in me -- spending time learning and growing as a business owner means that my business will grow as well. The more I learn, the more I grow and the more my business will thrive.
So, I sit here at my desk, having set the to-do list aside, and I instead listened to a webinar about adding value to clients over the course of a year. The webinar instructor taught on thinking through the four quarters of a year and strategically planning through them. She gave me some great ideas and it forced me to think bigger picture -- beyond emails and April's P&L -- and to dream up some new opportunities for my business.
I invite you to think through the tasks that you did this week. You gave piano lessons, you probably returned a few texts or calls, you might have advertised on Facebook or something. Great, immediate things in your business.
But, did you set aside some time to work ON your business? To grow you?
Give it a try, dear piano teacher friend. Carve out a small measure of time where you aren't doing the urgent but are instead working on the important -- on your business. You will be glad you did!