So you think you own a business huh?

So you think you own a business huh?
December 18, 2012 Derek Fournier

This is not revolutionary. Many excellent (far better than me) consultants lament this scenario “on the regular” as the youth would say. The fact of the matter is that many small and mid-sized business owners wake up one day and realize that, instead of owning a business, they simply own a job. And their boss kind of sucks.

When I started Plain Sight, I had already read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. His stories of the pie shop owner resonated with me, but I had no idea how accurate they would be nor did I understand how far reaching the implications would be regardless of the space in which the business resides. Now, over two years later, I cannot even recall how many business “owners” from everything including dry cleaners to technology experts are simply slaving away to a boss who they cannot argue with without being diagnosed with multiple personality disorder (get it? Cause the argument would be with yourse… nevermind.)

So after all this time and experience, what new information can I tell you about this sad state of affairs? I can tell you that people are at least realizing that the problem exists (the first step is admitting there is a problem, right?) with an increasing frequency. Now that you are aware of the problem, you have to actually take steps to rectify it. If you identify the problem and only claim you are going to address it, then you are no longer a victim and certainly no longer ignorant.

You are stupid.

“Man, that’s harsh,” said someone for the convenience of this blog post.

Well, that is the funny thing about knowledge. Once you open that book you can’t look back. So now that you realize you started a business because you feel you are good at <insert whatever you do here> and that there are not enough <insert whatever the correct name for whatever you do> around, but despite your best efforts you still feel as though you are a slave to the machine. Wasn’t getting away from that machine the reason you started your own business? What are some warning signs?

  1. You are still an army of one.

Rarely will you be able to accomplish everything well by yourself. Sure, when you start up, funds are low and you have to multitask. As things progress, you will eventually realize that you are probably not an accountant (unless your business is, well, an accounting firm). You most certainly are not a marketer (see previous clause). You may need some help with sales in you plan to actually acquire any. Do you see the pattern? To run a business, you will have to learn how to delegate, partner, outsource or in some way bring in the talent you need to grow.

2. You have been slaving away for years but your business is not growing.

It is counter-intuitive but even in larger business it is often the case that the right person to start a company is not always the right person to help it grow. I have witnessed many good CEO get companies to a 10 MM mark but not have the insight to realize that their strength stopped there. It takes a different kind of leader to go from 10MM to 50MM.

3. You spend more time educating yourself on new things than serving your clients.

It is awesome how much freely available information exists to learn how to do pretty much anything. Sadly, that leads many to feel that they should learn how to do pretty much everything.

So what are you to do? If you have identified the problem, talk to someone about it. I was speaking to a client and describing my retainer services and we joked that they sometimes feel like “Business Counseling.” In some ways, that is exactly what you need. While you may have loved ones pointing things out, it seems a unique feature of mankind to only listen to those we pay.

While this seems amazingly self-serving (and it is to a certain extent) I honestly don’t care if you leverage me or a member of the team here to speak with about getting your business to the next level. There are thousands of excellent consultants out there. Talk to one and build some rapport. Get yourself the support and advice you need in order to transform your role as employee of an overbearing boss to owner of your own business. If you take this step, I guarantee you the changes that are recommended will be exciting.

In my next blog I will discuss the problem that arises when you get that advice then ignore it.

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