Marketing Planning & Reporting, Workflows & Processes

Why You Should Work on Your Small Business, Not Just in it.


A lot of small businesses prioritise client work over working on their own admin, marketing and business development. Paid work is obviously important for your business. But don’t forget to work on your small business, too.

By setting aside a little bit of time to develop your business and keep things running smoothly, you’ll be able to provide a much better, more professional and more organised service for your clients.

It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time but it can have a big impact on your small business.

Why work on your small business?

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It might seem like you’re missing out on money by working on your own business rather than doing client work. But that’s not true at all.

The long-term benefits will mean that your business grows and develops successfully. This will allow you to take on more clients and charge higher rates in the future.

Read more about the 10 things I’ve learned by running my own small business.

Here are a few of the biggest benefits:

  • Business growth and focus – if you work on your small business, it will help it to grow in several different ways. You’ll be able to work out what your focus is and work towards achieving your goals. This could mean expanding your team, working with new clients, attracting new customers or offering different products and services.
  • Staff satisfaction – if your staff know you care about them, they’re more likely to stick around for a long time. Build a great team who are committed to your business by offering staff training, company benefits and team-building opportunities.
  • Workflow optimisation – by regularly working on your business, you’ll be able to see where your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to organisation. You can then get tasks done more efficiently, cut down on unnecessary work, and outsource work if needed.
  • Professionalism – haven’t updated your social media pages or website in a while? Keep on top of updating your content and marketing so clients know you’re reliable. Don’t forget to enrol on relevant courses or put your business forward for awards to prove to clients that you’re professional and you know what you’re talking about.
  • Company culture – by improving your business, you’ll also be helping to create a great company culture. Staff will feel valued and will be proud to be part of the company. You’ll also be able to easily identify any problems, provide staff with the resources they need, and ensure everyone is working towards the same goals.
  • Sustainability – working on a business plan or marketing strategy will allow you to focus on both the short-term and long-term goals for your business. You can make sure your business will be successful and sustainable for years to come, identifying ways to innovate so you always stay ahead of the competition.

What does it mean?

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There are many different ways you can work on developing your business. The options that are most important to you will depend on what type of business you run. Have a think about what you’re aiming to achieve, who your customers and what your business needs are.

If your business employs people other than yourself, you may want to focus on staff training and team building. If you’re an online-based business, keeping your website up to date and having a strong social media strategy is very important.

For product-based businesses, working on sales and strategies is vital. Even attending courses and networking sessions is an important part of working on your business. It ensures you make great connections and can position yourself as an expert in your field.

Don’t forget things like keeping your admin, finances and paperwork in order. It might seem boring and you’d rather spend your time working on client projects. But doing a little bit of it every week will ensure you stay organised and don’t miss anything important.

Check out my favourite small business and marketing tools – they can totally transform the way you approach working on your business!

How to make it happen

The theory behind working on instead of in your own business is great, but what about actually doing it? It can be difficult to give up paid client work to work on your small business, even if you know it’s best in the long run.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Making a few small changes can make a huge difference.

1. Set aside some time

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Even if it’s just a couple of hours a week, setting aside some time to work on your small business is vital. Rather than trying to do bits and pieces in between other client work, dedicate a chunk of time entirely to your own business.

You’ll be able to focus much better, be more productive and work out exactly what needs to be done.

2. Keep on top of it

It’s much easier to keep things up to date if you do it regularly. Don’t leave everything until the end of the month (or worse – the end of the year!).

Instead, try to spend a couple of hours every week and work on your small business. This could mean catching up with admin and emails, updating your social media, adding new products to your website or organising training sessions for your staff.

Doing small chunks of work regularly will make it seem much less daunting than if you leave it all to do at once.

3. Treat your business like a client

Photo by StockSnap from Pixabay

Stop viewing your own business as less important than a client’s business. If your own business is outdated and unprofessional, clients won’t want to hire you. So it’s vital you start viewing your own business in the same way as you’d view a client.

Make sure you set out goals, create strategies, write to-do lists and evaluate how things are progressing. Use the same process you’d use with a client to figure out the best ways to grow your business.

4. Ask for help

If you find yourself struggling to find the time to work on your small business, there’s no harm in asking for help.

Which tasks are you least skilled at and which ones do you least enjoy? For example, rather than continuing to do your accounting yourself, you might find it helpful to outsource this to an accountant so you can spend more time working on other aspects of your business.

Likewise, if social media isn’t your thing, consider hiring a freelance social media manager to help you out. You can also delegate tasks to other members of your team, using everyone’s areas of expertise to ensure things are done efficiently and to the highest standard.


To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
What Does Success Mean to You and Your Small Business?
How to Make Your Small Business Work Smarter Not Harder
Should You Work From Home or Get an Office for Your Small Business?
How to Market Your Small Business When You’re Busy


Denise Strohsahl brand and marketing consultant for small businesses

Hello, I’m Denise from sandstonecastles, a brand & marketing consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I help small business owners like yourself to find the right marketing that’s in line with your brand and values.