All new business owners begin with the intent to grow a great business. The results are painfully different. The SBA reports that only about one third of new businesses survive 10 years or more. Why does this happen? What contributes to the success of the surviving businesses?
Martin Zwilling reported, “Over 25 years ago, Michael E. Gerber wrote a best-selling business book called The E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. The E-Myth (“Entrepreneurial Myth”) is the mistaken belief that most businesses are started by people with tangible business skills, when in fact most are started by “technicians” who know nothing about running a business. Hence most fail.”
The importance of business management skills isn’t widely appreciated even with Google Library and You Tube University available. All the information you would ever need is available to everybody. Even so, most new business owners don’t realize the need for “tangible business skills”.
Therefore, most businesses are started by professional technicians with great skills and no knowledge of the management skills needed to help the business grow and survive.
With the help of Martin Zwilling, contrasting the mindsets of the professional and the business builder will highlight the change in perspective required for building a strong and enduring major business.
The Professional/Technical Perspective
“I need to stay in business. I must work as hard as I can to make money to keep the doors open.” How much work should I do to get the income I need to stay in business? This owner is concentrating on the volume of work that he/she must personally complete to keep the business running.
“I want to give the customer good service, but I want to save as much money as I can in the process.” What should I offer the customer? Concentration is on the size and scope of the service or product. The owner tries to point to the minimum resources required to please the customers.
“I’m trying to make sure production and delivery of my product/service is economical, but I don’t want to run customers away.” How much should your product/service cost to produce and what should be the cost to the customer? Understanding the financial requirements and results in the business are foremost in the owners’ mind.
“I’m going to see if I can get my supplies with a 60 day deferred billing and I hope the money comes in on time.” How will we get the basic materials we need to supply the product? Supply chain requirements are considered and chosen.
“I heard about this program that offers venture capital. I think I’ll apply for that, or maybe I’ll apply for a loan.” How can I get additional funding? Venture capital or loans are considered for operating costs. Money is a constant concern.
“I really need to advertise, but it costs so much. I’ve got to think of an inexpensive way to get the word out.” How can we market this business to get more customers? Marketing options are considered and chosen according to available funding. Sometimes, it’s the last thing you plan to do.
“Now, hiring people is going to be a problem. It’s so hard to get good people.” How will I hire people when I need them and how will I pay them? Hiring workers or getting volunteers are contemplated but often avoided as long as possible because there is no confidence in the hiring process and the business’ ability to pay a salary.
The focus is on the present and attempting to keep things as they are now. Seeing what has worked in the past and what seems to be working now is the total consideration of the owner. This perspective often fails. Actually, this is a detail-oriented approach.
Of course, these tasks must be completed in any business, but with a different perspective, a good amount of stress is removed. You can use business skills to design a Vision and plan for handling the required tasks according to your projected timelines.
The Business Builders’ Perspective
“Considering the business environment for my discipline, I think I’ll create a niche that’s different.” How should my business work in today’s environment? This perspective takes into account the changing environment of the business and research is completed to help design how the business will work today and in the future.
“I’ve checked my major competitors and I see they are not offering what I want to offer. I’ll be different.” What are my competitors doing that I should know about? A careful analysis of existing successful, related businesses is completed to determine the state of the art in the chosen discipline. Internet searches make this task easily accomplished.
“People really need my product/service. It’s not as available as it should be. I want to make a difference.” What meaning can we bring to the marketplace? The contribution to society the business will make is taken into consideration and held as guiding principles in the business.
“I’m projecting 5 to 10 years down the road. I see my business making a significant contribution to my discipline in the years to come.” What should my business look like in the future? A Vision of the future is carefully described and used as business targets.
“I’m using my planning time to document the process for getting to the targets according to my timelines.” What strategy should I adopt to get to that Vision? An analysis of where you are in the business building process, what targets you wish to reach and how you are going to reach those targets is thought through, designed and documented. This is your strategy.
“Standardized Systems will help me offer excellent quality to my customers on a consistent basis.”What systems should be in place to ensure consistent results that satisfy customers and create the best results?” These will be routine ways of running the business that can be easily repeated in all important operations. Examples would be a product/service delivery system, marketing system, a financial system or a customer service system that works the same every time unless changes are indicated.
“I want to be a leader in my industry. We’re going to be creative and innovative. I’m going to watch trends and stay ahead.” How can we be better than the rest? Attention to innovation, improvement, excellence and industry leadership are important considerations for this owner.
There are other elements, of course, for each perspective. The above are just a few major differences in the thinking processes of the professional and the business builder. The truth is, the business owner must carry out both roles when the business is started. Your artistic application of management skills helps you organize and control all aspects of your growing business for the sustainability and health of your business.
The most satisfying results occur when the business builder takes the perspective of the CEO who sees the big picture, then plans for business fortification, endurance and expansion. The business builder perspective will give you a context for business decisions. Business builders don’t see themselves as always keeping their heads down grinding out the work and hoping they will eventually get help. They see themselves as the founder of a great business that will be a benefit to society, and lead to financial and personal freedom. A business that can operate independent of him or her performing the all of the daily grind.
The bottom line: Are you in business just to be your own boss or are you going to create a significant enterprise? “You must understand it takes the same amount of time to create a small business as it takes to create a major one.”(Chika Onyeani). Your perspective makes the difference. Manage well.
Clear management and organization development skill recipes: “20 Directives for Small Business Success: Do or Die” See also The GeniusCore Business Building Podcast.