At the panel discussion at the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) this past week, we discussed the concept of working ON versus working IN your business. To clarify the concepts I asked the audience to define which of the following were IN and which were ON. The results were interesting…
Marketing & Advertising – ON
Hiring the Staff – ON
Training the Staff – IN/ON
Buying – IN/ON
Receiving Merchandise – IN
Stocking Shelves – IN
Selling – IN
Bookkeeping – ON/IN
Financials – ON
As you can see, there were mixed opinions on Training the Staff, Buying, and Bookkeeping. Some of it was based on what a manager can do, versus what an owner can do. I think some people felt that managers can only work IN the business. Do you agree? (I don’t.)
My own personal belief is:
IN is anything done that moves your merchandise out the door. So Receiving, Stocking and Selling are the IN’s.
ON is anything that gets the merchandise you sell (buying), the people who sell it (hiring and training), and the people to whom you sell it (marketing and advertising). ON also includes taking care of the money your business provides.
(But what about Bookkeeping? I’m still on the fence about that one.)
Using that definition, how much time do you spend ON versus IN? In our panel, the average was about 80% ON and 20% IN for the first 11 months of the year, and then swap that for December. You, too?
PS Not only do I think managers should work ON the business, too. I highly encourage it. They take more ownership for the success the more they have a hand in creating that success.