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Edition 177 – The Failure of Technical Brilliance

The world of family business is full of technically brilliant people. Be they tradespeople or professionals, most of them step into the ownership of family business as a result of that technical brilliance.

However, that’s no recipe for success.

One of the reasons for this is that, often, technically brilliant people are perfectionists. So, they spend time refining their product, retreating into their technical cave, rather than actually getting out and telling the world:

  1. Not how technically brilliant they are; BUT
  2. How their technical brilliance will make someone’s life better off.

The phone doesn’t simply ring with a $1 million client on the line.

The emails don’t just ping with a request from a Platinum Grade new client, ready and willing to access your product or service.

As owners and managers of family businesses, you need to market – incessantly & shamelessly.

You need to forge connections with people that may be interested in your product or service – or are connectors themselves and can put you in touch with those people.

Like the wheat farmer, you need to prepare the soil, plant the seed, keep watering, protect against pests, watch the weather and nurture the crop until, one day, it’s time to pull the harvester out of the shed.

I once took a tour through a factory. The owner proudly showed off their production line and all the stock on the shelf. They delighted in telling me how they’d refined their manufacturing process to the point where it was the most efficient it had ever been. In hindsight, we spent way too long touring that factory because the owner was inside their technical cave – where they felt at the peak of their powers.

The problem with this business is that it wasn’t making money. All the while, as they talked about how good their product was (in their eyes) and how much they’d reduced the production cost, they admitted they had a very limited marketing strategy and, as a result, a very limited market.

They weren’t knocking on doors. They weren’t out in the world shamelessly promoting their business. They were too busy, inside their technical cave, squeezing another 5 cents out of the production costs – rather than focussing on the multiple dollars they should have been making from actually selling the product.

If you’re in family business and your’re not prepared to shout out to the world who you are and how you can help others in their lives, then you should start preparing for an alternate career. Eventually, your business will wither away to nothing.

The farmer isn’t lurking about inside their shed shining the harvester. Or sitting at the kitchen table sending emails to all and sundry. They are out there, doing it, every single day – incessantly and shamelessly.