The first step in a Business Development Programme is to define “What do you want from your life?”
We are not yet ready start on the detailed Business Development work. There’s one more thing to consider.
Growing a business is about your frame of mind together with an understanding of what it means to be Entrepreneurial.
If you have read about growing your business you will have come across the idea of how important it is to work ON your business rather than working IN your business. You might be aware that this is the central tenet of Michael Gerber’s book The E-Myth Revisited.
His observation was that there are millions of people around the world who have started a small business as a result of an “Entrepreneurial Seizure”, without knowing how to run and grow a business. He pointed out the Fatal Assumption: “If you understand the technical work of the business, you understand the business that does the technical work”
Every business owner is part Technician, part Manager and part Entrepreneur.
The Technician starting a new business is momentarily an Entrepreneur, but in practice often remains and behaves like a Technician with the sad consequence of an inevitable spiral from
Exhilaration, leading to
The (all too fleeting) Entrepreneur within us
The Entrepreneur has vision, is a dreamer, has energy, has imagination and is a catalyst for change.
The Entrepreneur lives in the future, creates havoc, thrives on change and innovation, sees opportunities not problems
To the Entrepreneur, people are problems that get in the way of the dream.
The Manager within us
The Manager is pragmatic, likes planning, likes order and predictability.
The Manager lives in the past, clings to the status quo, sees problems not opportunities.
The Manager clears up after the Entrepreneur.
The Technician within us
“If you want it done right, do it yourself”
The Technician lives in the present, is happy as long as he is working – on one thing at a time.
To the Technician, thinking isn’t work – it gets in the way of work.
Everyone gets in the Technician’s way.
The stages of business
It is also useful to consider which stage your business is in:
Beyond the comfort zone
This is the Technician’s phase. “Yippee, I’m free of the Boss”, and
Working 12+ hours a day
The Owner the Business are the same thing – doing everything
Working hard. Customers like it (initially). It seems great
Then subtle changes come about: Glitches, Problems, Delivery and Service deteriorate, Billing errors, Mistakes…..
Now up to 14 hours a day
At this stage the Technician either gives up or moves on (80% of businesses fail within 5 years)
This stage involves getting some help – but often Technical Help – i.e. the wrong sort of help.
The salesman owner gets production help.
The production owner gets sales help.
An employee is hired to do the bookkeeping / admin. “Eureka,” says the owner to himself. “I don’t have to do all those things any more”. The owner is FREE – to do what he likes. The Technical work.
Then it all goes wrong because the employees don’t do it how the owner would (There are no Systems in place). Errors appear everywhere – delivery, cash flow, production.
The Technician cannot trust anyone, and doesn’t know what to do, except work longer hours.
Beyond the Comfort Zone
The owner has to decide what to do next.
Getting small again.
This is a typical response. It hasn’t worked – so make the business smaller, leaner. Maybe back to being a one-man band. Thousands upon thousands of Technicians do this.
But they don’t own a business, they own a job!
Typically this leads to despair. Standards fall. The Technician gives up and gets a job.
Going for broke
This is often perceived as the answer for the “high tech” business – but the Chaos can just grow even faster (There are still no Systems in place)
The end result is often catastrophic over-trading. The owner might win by this route, but more by luck than genius – and it is the equivalent of Russian Roulette.
Michael Gerber calls this the most tragic (and frequent) outcome of all.
The owner is now working 7 days a week trying to keep on top of everything, but none of his efforts are entrepreneurial. He is doing it, doing it, doing it. The ultimate example of working IN the business and not ON the business.
Yet the owner refuses to give up. Nothing changes. There are no Business Development initiatives. No strategies for Organisation, Management, Marketing, Systems. And the owner ends up utterly exhausted.
THERE IS A BETTER WAY
Instead of moving through Infancy and Adolescence, this business has the Entrepreneurial Perspective from the outset.
Successful companies start as Mature Businesses. For example, Tom Watson, founder of IBM, had a clear vision of how IBM would look and act when it was finally done. He ensured the business acted like that from day one.
The Technician sees the business as a place in which people work to produce inside results, for the Technician, producing income.
The Entrepreneur sees the business as a system for producing results, for the customer, resulting in profits.
The Entrepreneur figures out “What is the opportunity…?” And then works out the solution to the Key Frustrations of customers.
To the Technician, the customer is always a problem! To the Entrepreneur, the customer is always an opportunity.
In our Business Development Programme we then go on to look at the Turn-Key Revolution as a model for building an Entrepreneurial business, and what this means in practice.
Making an honest assessment of where you are now
For now though, why don’t you ponder on the extent to which you are a Technician, Manager or Entrepreneur in your business – and whether you might need to change.
Also, consider at what stage your business currently stands in the range of Infancy, Adolescence and Maturity.
If you’ve now read our first 3 blogs on the subject of Business Development you might be asking yourself:
- Do I have any personal goals, and things I want to do with my life, that will require the substantial level of funds which could be realized by the sale of a successful business?
- Have I got a clear view of what that business is going to look like when it is finished?
- Am I being entrepreneurial enough, and if not, how do I have to change? What stage is my business at right now?
Please get in touch if you need some help with your Business Development.