working on the business versus working in the business

often at times, I find it hard to context switch between working on our business, versus working in our business.

this problem is especially aggravated for startups, where there is little time to sit back every once in a while to take in the big picture; given the scarcity of human resources.

working “on” the business, for example, is thinking about how to position your business in the marketplace; how to slot yourself versus competitors, and what type of allies to attract for strategic growth.

working “in” the business, on the other hand is making sure you deliver (or exceed) on customer commitments, delivering on engineering deadlines, and financial milestones to investors.

I am in no way implying that it is easier for larger companies to do this, and albeit better than startups.

at the end of the day — companies and executives that are able to work on their business while working in the business side by side, are the ones who are most likely to succeed (or at least enjoy the ride more than others).

Credits: I would like to acknowledge my colleague — Jeff Popoff, for a conversation that sparked this post.

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