IN. ON. Two tiny words that can spell the difference between success and failure when it comes to your business. It’s not just semantics. It’s serious stuff and something you should factor into the mix when thinking about how to achieve results.

Let’s break it down:

IN: Working “in” the business is reactive. It’s about being responsive to the needs of your customers. Bottom line – If you don’t do this well you won’t have customers.

ON: Working “on” the business is proactive. It’s about serving the needs of your business. If you don’t do this well, you won’t have a business. Period!

So, what are some of the best ways to work “on” your business?

  • Listen: Keep your ear to the ground and tune into your target market. What are they asking for, complaining about, motivated by…? It may not be loud and clear to you at first, but the data is there, you just have to seek it out. Spending just 20 minutes a week talking to current or potential customers, checking in with your own employees to see if they’re noticing emerging trends or areas of concern, and paying careful attention to their feedback, can be extremely valuable. And… it can literally spell the difference between being “in” business or going “out!”
  • Learn: Resist resting on your laurels. Even if you’ve been in business for decades, staying on top of your game is critical to long-term success. Do your research, look at the latest trends, keep up with what the competition is up to, enroll in workshops, take classes and invest in professional development for yourself and your staff.
  • Question: Taking an honest look in the mirror can be difficult, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to ensure your business will be around for the long haul. Ask yourself and your team the tough questions and don’t shy away from the truth, even if it hurts. Why aren’t we bringing in new customers? Have we diversified too quickly? What could we be doing better?
  • Create: Hope is not a strategy. But thoughtful planning informed by customer feedback, market research and up-to-date knowledge regarding your business and target audience is! Having a plan is the key to achieving long-term results and having someone with the expertise to help you create that plan is critical. While you should play a key role in the development of the plan, objectivity should rule the day, so be sure to team up with a third party you can trust to help you make smart, informed decisions.

How do I know if my business is at risk?

Not taking the time to work “on” your business puts it at risk. But that’s just one of many factors to look out for. NGA’s downloadable checklist, Is Your Business At Risk? 10 Warning Signs that Your Business is in Trouble, can help you recognize the many other red flags that could be holding your business back, or worse, threatening to bring you down.

“After decades working in Corporate Renewal we understand better than most the importance of working ‘on’ your business,” says New Growth Advisor’s CEO, Sonny Saeks. “Whether they’re experiencing challenges or they just want to grow their business, it’s one of the first things we advise all our clients to do. And we know how effective it is because we continuously work “on” our own business too,” he explains.

“We understand that before you can respond to the needs of your customers, you have to get your own house is in order, and that means having a solid plan. We offer a wide variety of Business Solutions and Creative Services, informed by our own simple and effective strategy of Listening, Learning, Questioning and Creating, to help all our clients achieve the best results possible. After all, we would never give our clients advice we wouldn’t follow ourselves!”