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Edition 154 – Beware

In July 1995, I attended a four day business development course at The Fairmont Resort at Leura in the Blue Mountains that I can honestly say changed my life. It moved me immediately away from being someone who reported the numbers, in arrears, to being someone who wanted to work with family business owners to create the numbers.

At that conference, one of the two key presenters came out with a phrase that blew me away. So powerful was its message that for many years, on my office wall, in full view of clients, staff and fellow business partners, it sat proudly. Here it is:
Beware of your thoughts, they become your words.
Beware of your words, they become your actions.
Beware of your actions, they become your habits.
Beware of your habits, they become your character.
Beware of your character, it becomes your destiny.
If you google this, it is attributed to a number of different people, though not definitively, including Mahatma Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher.
My message today is simple. 
If you think like a technician, you will act like a technician, and will always be a technician.
Similarly, if you think like a business owner, you will act like a business owner, and will always be a business owner.
The inspiration for this week’s newsletter came from a recent phone conversation I had with one of my clients. They expressed frustration with some of the clients they were working with. My client’s client was completely disorganised – sending people to different sites each day, without finishing yesterday’s project. They’d turn up to a new site and the people there were completely unprepared for their arrival, let alone for any construction work to take place.
It became evidently clear to me that my own client needed to stop thinking of himself as a technician and start thinking of himself as a business owner. His own client was not treating him as a peer and was, instead, treating him and his business as a resource. More than likely, this was because my client didn’t consider himself a peer and, perhaps, gave the impression that he did what he was told because he didn’t want to lose the work.
Except, that doing what he was told meant he became incredibly frustrated, very quickly.
Now, if you want to go into business for yourself, and are happy to be a technician, you need to accept that:

  1. It’s not a business, it’s merely a job for multiple bosses.
  2. You won’t create financial independence if you’re always the technician – it’s just going to be a pay packet and some fuel reimbursement.
  3. You won’t build the lifestyle you’re truly after – you’ll be working six days per week, if you’re lucky.
  4. When you’re busy doing the do, you’re not cultivating the paddock for the next crop – which means business will always peak and trough based on how busy your diary is, and how much or how little effort you’re putting into marketing yourself.

On the other hand, if you want to be seen as a business owner, you need to:

  1. Consider yourself an equal to your clients.
  2. Respect yourself and the value you provide.
  3. Say no if the work you’re asked to do doesn’t fit with your business strategy.
  4. Spend time off the tools – and on developing and marketing your business.
  5. Be prepared to stand your ground if your client is disorganised, disrespectful or cuts corners.

This Week’s Tip

How we think portrays who we are now, who we will be in the future and what people picture us as. Who do you think you are?