Working On Your Business, Not In
We have asked this direct question to many business owners. The answers almost always revolve around financial independence, freedom, more discretionary time and peace of mind.
Think about your own business, or about business owners that you know. Has business ownership brought you or them closer to these goals? Isn’t it interesting that for many, business ownership has brought about exactly the opposite result – financial insecurity, less discretionary time and lots of worry.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone. Many small businesses flourish and grow – and are a major driver in the local, national and global economy. What causes some to overachieve while others stagnate and die? Is it luck and good fortune? Hard work? Or something else?
Over the past few years, we have spent a lot of time observing and working with businesses that provide those elusive benefits for their owner. We have worked directly with these folks and observed what they do and how they do it.
Certainly, being lucky and not being afraid to roll up your sleeves and dig in never hurt anybody.
And working hard is exactly what most business owners do. In fact, most business owners work way too hard for the return on their time, capital and risk. Quite simply, many business owners are working on the wrong things.
In his excellent book, “The E-Myth Revisited”, Michael Gerber relates this back to the motivation for most people to start their own business – and our own experience is the same. The vast majority of people starting a business were working for someone else, most likely doing some type of technical work. They were probably good at it, but were doing it for someone else.
Then, as Gerber describes it, this person has an “Entrepreneurial Seizure.” They think things like “Why am I working for this person? I know as much about this business as them. If they can run a business, I can do it.” During this “seizure”, the prospective business owner falls into a fatal assumption – if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does technical work.
Our experience has shown that the fatal assumption can be absolutely fatal! Business owners spend all of their time (and then some) doing the things that the business does. If it’s a plumbing business, they install water lines. If it’s a computer business, they fix computer problems.
In other words, all of their time is spent working IN the business rather than working ON the business. They build a business that is totally dependent on them – never lifting their head out of the trenches or building the systems that will bring them financial independence, freedom and piece of mind.
But here’s the exciting news………these are learnable skills. The success stories were not born knowing how to run a business. But they did make a conscious decision to do something different. Our commitment to our clients and friends is to be a continuing resource for practical advice and strategies to help business owners make this happen. We aim to question, prod and inspire business owners and managers to achieving their personal and financial goals. Join us for the ride!