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Edition 375 – Mirror, Mirror

If business is slow and you’re not winning much new work of late, look in the mirror.

If cash is tight and you’re tired of your debtors stringing you out, look in the mirror.

If you’re having troubles with staff and they’re either not listening to you or they’re not hanging around, look in the mirror.

If you’re the business owner, you need to stop blaming everyone else and start looking at yourself. Why your business is where it’s at right at this moment is a lot to do with you. That might be a good place or a lousy place. However, where it is currently positioned is, to the greatest extent, down to you.

I’m hearing a growing crescendo of complaints at the moment. The economy is slowing, or people are hard to find, or the growth in costs is outpacing your ability to grow revenues. Almost everyone is saying it. However, the real reason a lot of this is happening is simply because too many small and family business owners are too busy working day to day at the wrong level in their business.

Michael Gerber wrote the classic business book, The E-Myth almost 40 years ago*. In that book, he illustrates the following:

For those businesses that work with me, or have worked with me in the past, most of them have seen me draw this on the Flipchart at least once – and often every time we meet.

You can’t win new business when you’re on site, doing the work of the technician, the lowest of the three tiers.

Your cash will undoubtedly get tight if you’re simply managing your people and any projects they’re completing, at the second of the three tiers.

Your staff won’t listen to you, or may not hang around, simply because when they’re working alongside of you at the coalface, they’re tired of you barking orders. Just because it is your business and just because you can do it better than anyone else in your business doesn’t mean you should be doing whatever it is any other technician in the business could be doing.

Unless you’re willing to permanently base yourself in the role of the Entrepreneur in your business, you’re forever going to be facing these issues. Why? Because you’re not spending time:

  1. Looking at the future.
  2. Reviewing the profitability of the work you undertake.
  3. Focussing on marketing the business.
  4. Building relationships with key individuals of influence.
  5. Developing your team at the higher level.
  6. Drilling into the key numbers in your business, often, and making sense of them.
  7. Delegating authority to good, competent people in your organisation to manage the technicians inside your business.

If you’re happy to be a Technician in your business, then I’m sorry to tell you, you don’t have a business. You just have a job, possibly working for the worst boss you’ve ever worked for.

If you want to build a business that achieves the goals you and your family have set for yourselves, you have no alternative but to place yourself permanently in the role of the Entrepreneur. You cannot grow a business to the point where it provides you with the financial returns, the lifestyle and professional achievements you truly desire when you yourself are operating at the lowest possible level in the business.

This Week’s Tip

*“It’s easier to do it myself” is a complete fallacy.”

*Michael Gerber – The E-Myth – Harper Collins Publisher – 1985