Blakeman - I knew where you were coming from but thanks for the clarification. I still use the word, too - sometimes you have to for understanding the transition and the reasons why not to use it.
Bottom line is this - finding/making the time to work "on" the business is not easy for most owners/entreprenuers. There are lots of reasons and I don`t believe - based on my experience - there is one set way to get to the point where one can work "on" the business. Every person and situation is different and when you are called upon to assist owners, you have to look at the entire operation and people.
One issue that pops up on the radar many times is simply time management. Maybe this is a sunject for another thread. Poor time management by owners/entreprenuers is a real killer. People are distracted so easily and there is so much time wasted that could be put to better use. But like I said, another subject for another day. Just thought I throw out a tease on that one - maybe we`ll get around to it one day.
When you get right down to it, most entreprenuers have a lack of clarity. Many entrepreneurs simply don`t know what they want from life. Without clear goals and an understanding of what you truly value, life can get out of whack very quickly. This lack of clarity contributes to the conflict between working "on" and "in" the business. Another reason to really and seriously work on the life planning phase as the Sloan Bros. preach here at SuN.
There are many business people - small and large - long-term and startup - that confuse job success with life success ... "success = happiness." We (as a culture and as individuals) cling tightly to the notion that "If I succeed at my job, I will succeed in life." This may have been true in the past, but not anymore. To achieve balance, you have to embrace all aspects of life, not just those related to the business environment. More important for entrepreneurs, you have to find an identity above and beyond your business.
Personally, I don`t think anyone will ever get to the point of working "on" the business until they figure out the life/work balance. For startups, this is hard to develop into a total business plan and bad habits just continue on as the business grows. A vicious circle for many.