The Difference Between Strategic and Tactical Work and Why it Matters

Working on your business

Table of Contents

It might sound cliche but you need to work “work ON your business as much or more than you work IN your business” (Gerber 1986). It is the only way to financial and personal freedom while owning a small business.

What exactly does working ON your business mean? It means being strategic. Here I will define the difference between tactical and strategic work.

And why separating them is the business strategy you need to be an “owner” instead of your most valuable “employee”.

Have you built yourself a job instead of a company?

Strategy Systems Performance Review Cycle

Helping with tactical and strategic work

Instead of feeling like an entrepreneur, company owners can feel like underpaid, overworked employees. What was supposed to bring freedom and financial wealth ends up taking over your life and draining your resources.

How does this happen?

Simply said, there’s too much to do.

Employees, landlords, taxes, social media, suppliers, phone bills, contracts, change orders, angry customers, shoplifting, networking, computer updates, competition, pricing, training … the list is endless!

“Learning from mistakes is overrated.” – Jason Fried (37 Signals)

Every day you go to work, and bit by bit, you get a little more behind on something that eventually will cost you money or precious time. If you are a business owner working as one of your company’s employees, you are doing tactical work.

Tactical work – makes or delivers your product.

On top of this, you are expected to be the boss and lead the team with a compelling vision. This is strategic work.

Strategic work – higher level, long-term entrepreneurial work.

You are the go-to person when it comes to offering expert advice. When you don’t know something, you take it upon yourself to figure it out. This is when having documented systems really helps.

Are you doing strategic or tactical work?

Here are some examples:

Tactical and Strategic tasks

Focus on strategy and whenever possible hire others to do the tactical work so you can focus on strategic work.

Use your vision, influence and entrepreneurial spirit to lead your team in helping you realize your dreams.

How are you spending your time most days?

I would recommend dedicating at least five (5) hours per week to working ON your business.

If you give more time to getting organized and figuring things out vs. putting work boots on — you’ll have a company instead of a job.

Time management icon

Not sure where to start?

Dust off that business plan you were forced to create when you started the company and choose an area in the plan to focus on. Chances are a lot has changed due to COVID-19.

When you define the foundational core elements of your company, you can examine what is in place and what is missing.

These elements could be:

  • Assessing Partnerships
  • Corporate Structure
  • Product Offerings
  • Profit Centres
  • Market Trends
  • Competition
  • Financial goals
  • Growth plans
  • Exit Strategy

These are critical areas of business leadership that need your time and attention to reach your company’s full potential.

Too busy?

Hire a coach or schedule time every week to work on your business.

Give strategic work the same priority as serving your customers. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish. Most of all…have fun with it! That is where the entrepreneurial magic happens!

What do you think?

What foundational element do you want to focus on in your strategic work? Is there any tactical work find yourself doing?

Either way, let’s talk about it in the comments! What is working well for you?

Until next time, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!

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