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It’s one of those phrases that can mean slightly different things depending on your perspective.

In poker, it means playing all your chips on one hand. The most prominent definition on the Urban Dictionary says it means being fully committed. And the Oxford Dictionary defines this thing we call being “all in” as being exhausted.

In a way, they’re all right. And while there is something to be said for being fully invested in your small business, perhaps diversification is key to success. There are any number of reasons for considering yourself to be “all in” when it comes to your business. You know it best. It is your passion. It’s not a 9-to-5 thing for you. This is your life.

But wouldn’t it be nice if there were some ways for all of that to be true, for you to be all in, while still making sure there is plenty of time to workout and network and play a round of golf and have dinner with your family and, well, do it all?

It turns out there is a way. Because research shows there are recognizable, measurable, positive differences for small business owners who work on their business rather than in it.


Why delegate in small business?

For starters, you could be holding yourself back if you don’t. Every business is different and has unique needs to suit its practice, but the foundational elements remain the same. Take, for example, a gifted real estate agent. She has only been in business for a few years, but has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in that time. Her passion for working with people gets the job done, making her feel fulfilled while simultaneously matching clients who have developed into friends with their forever home.

As valuable as those things are, there are other fundamentals to consider, such as marketing and bookkeeping, that can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

For this agent, people are the difference. She knows showing people their future homes, and developing relationships with them, is the most valuable use of her time. Rightly so, since relationships do indeed help sell houses. But that doesn’t make other parts of her business any less valuable.

Earnings still need to exceed expenses to be a viable business, and taxes still need to be filed.



Saying no can save your business

Reputable sources like Forbes and Huffington Post agree in more way than one that there is something to be gained from delegating. But what does that mean for you working on your business rather than in it? It means everything.

Whether you’re a work-from-home-mom virtual assistant in Ohio or a home sale staging service in New York, there is something to be gained from considering asking for help from time to time. Finding resources that are skilled at what they do can seem taxing, but not when you consider the opportunity cost of spending your time elsewhere.


If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?


Don’t cut yourself short

Your time is valuable. Sure, time is money, and we all know that. But the time you spend growing your business should always be put to the best use. If this is something you’re passionate about (and chances are it is), you are always busy. And your mind most likely doesn’t ever turn off.

Yet that is exactly what you need to do in order to maximize the time you spend making your dream into a reality. Thinking about spending time on (rather than in) your business is just as much about what you’re doing when you’re not working as when you are.

Delegating itself is a valuable asset in your business, but ultimately no one is more important than you. If you’re not okay, if you’re not firing on all cylinders, you’re not just cutting your team short. You’re cutting yourself short.



Invest in your business

Ultimately “all-in” can be one of those phrases that makes or breaks your business. It can mean different things depending on your perspective, so what does it mean to you?

There are ways to be “all-in” while still making sure you make it to your second-grader’s school concert. The chips of your mind may be on the business table, but the chips of your heart are another thing to consider.


It’s true. You know your business best.

Yet we would also argue that Indian American author Deepak Chopra had something to his thought that “life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment.”

That is exactly what living the dream of being a small business owner can, and should, accomplish for you.