Are you one of the business owners that believe your competency is going to make you a business success? Yes, you must have a certain level of mastery in your craft. But, do you want to be a business owner or a technician?
You may be good at what you do, may it be fixing computers, healing, or coaching.
But, there is so much more to running a business than doing what you do. A business involves accounting and finance, marketing and sales, production and delivery, management and administration, etc. To be successful, you need a broad skill-set to be successful.
Yes, some of these skills can be hired. You can hire an accountant to do the books. Or, a graphics designer to design your marketing materials. Often (at least at first) you wear all these hats, and more.
Whether you do them yourself or not, you must have some level of knowledge in these areas. Why? Because you’re the decision maker. Without some knowledge you won’t be able to make competent decisions.
What Does It Mean?
How often have you heard someone say that as the owner you need to “work on your business not in it?” I’ve said it often enough myself. What does that mean, exactly?
It’s become something of a cliché these days. But, if you’ve ever read The E-Myth Revisited, you know exactly what it means.
What is the difference between working on versus in your business?
Employees work inside the business. They have specific duties/tasks to do on a regular basis. They know what’s expected of them.
The “boss” doesn’t have a clear path like that. Few of us were trained to be bosses. Your tasks as the “boss” are self-created. From where I sit, they vary from one owner to the next.
What that means is that you’re working inside the business sometimes and on it at other times.
Almost all the owners I know are aces at handling crises. Some even call them “opportunities.”
What happens, though, is that only managing crises means there isn’t any leverage. There’s no long-term planning. No continuing education. No path for growth.
What would change if you started working on the business?
- You would not be the first one in and the last one out.
- You’d be networking.
- You would spend “think time.” Time spent thinking about the future and how to use all your knowledge.
- You would plan and spend time acting on that plan.
I often hear owners complain that they don’t do much of the things they like. Instead, they’re working longer hours than ever. They teeter on the verge of burnout. Burnout is not uncommon. It isn’t something just a few of you suffer from.
The truth is that it doesn’t have to be that way. But, only you can change you.
Yes, every business owner I know wants to expand their company. You are one of those, I bet.
One of the issues you may face is an inability to move forward. Are you too busy trying to control everything? Do you want to be a business owner or a technician all your life?
If the latter, find a job working for someone else doing the stuff you’re good at. It will be easier on you; it will let you sleep at night. Otherwise, read on.
Yes, you should wear many hats when you’re starting the business. But, I’ve seen too many of you who’ve gotten past the start-up stage and remain obsessed with controlling everything. You are either unable or unwilling to change the way you do things.
People who control everything aren’t working on their business—they’re working in it.
How can a business owner become free from start-up–itis? That is, how can you change your mindset to focus on the business?
To get to that point, you must face the reality of being a business owner. That has a different set of challenges than doing the work you love to do. It means continually thinking about innovating. It means finding methods and tools to let you delegate routine work. And, it means freeing you for your work as CEO.
Are you ready to be a business owner or a technician? You must decide. Then, you can take steps to move from here to there.
Five Pillars to Business Freedom
There are a few foundation steps you need to take the important step from technician to business owner.
These are listed in order of their necessity. Here they are:
1 – Financials
Having spent time being a controller, I’m must say that, as a business owner, you need to have financial statements to know where you’re at. One of the last things you want are nasty surprises at the end of the month. No more opening your bank statement and getting a shock, OK?
This is basic, but I suggest:
- You keep an eye on costs, expenses.
- Review your numbers monthly.
- Constantly reassess your results.
- Keep your financials clean. That means no co-mingling of personal and business finances.
2 – Plan
Your goal may be increasing profitability, more clients, or something else. No matter what it is, you can’t expand a business without a plan. You may want to hire the best people. But, if you don’t know what your goals are, you won’t be able to identify who’s best for the job.
My suggestion is that your plan have:
- Strategic Projects
Thus, you are outlining where you want to go and how you’ll get there. And, it also leaves room for the chaos that will inevitably come.
As with financials, plans aren’t forever, not set in stone. You always need to consider alternatives to meet the unforeseen.
So, revisit, revise, realign.
3 – People
Hiring the right people is a skill. Part of the skill is knowing the difference between needs, wants and goals.
Does a candidate have experience working doing what you need? Do you want someone who’ll do as you say and no more? Or do you want a person who’ll be actively involved for mutual success?
Once you have hired someone, you should share your goal(s) and strategy with them. Listen to their feedback and questions of the plan. If you involve everyone in the company’s success, it’ll be easier to get them to follow your plan and you.
4 – Transparency
What’s being transparent mean? Does it mean you share everything with everyone?
The answer is no, you don’t share it all. But you share key parts of your vision, of your plan. Starting small will give you the ability to understand your people, see where it leads. Sharing stuff creates excitement and engages people.
To build a culture that builds loyalty, you need to trust those working with you right back. Sharing information does just that. And, once they follow your lead, you follow theirs. They’ll feel appreciated and heard.
5 – Accountability
Owners often think that the only ones to be held accountable are the employees. Guess what? That’s wrong.
If you, as the leader, aren’t accountable for your actions, you can’t expect others to be.
The best way to achieve accountability is to hold your staff accountable for their tasks. On the reverse, they hold you accountable for yours. If you’re working alone right now, find someone to act as your accountability partner. It is that important.
Why is it important? Because accountability ensures alignment. As the owner and leader, you must hold people accountable, including yourself.
What’s your experience? Do you want to be a business owner or a technician?
If you need help with becoming a business owner, there’s help here. I can assist you to go from technician to business owner in a few months.
Warmest hugs to you,