Be an Ethical Entrepreneur, Marketer, and Business Builder

You’re a business owner – you did not buy yourself a job!

This is it. This is the most important concept to grasp as a business owner… This colors and influences every decision you make in your business.

Brad Sugars has another way of saying this. His definition of a business is, “A commercial, profitable enterprise that works without me.” Did you read that last part? Without Me!

In other words, if your business requires you then it’s not a business… You have just bought or created a job for yourself. See the difference? Michael Gerber in The E-Myth Revisited refers to this as the owner being the Technician.

Why is it so crucial that your business can run without you? There are hundreds of reasons but I’ll give you 3.

  1. It’s worth more – A business that is sold including a trained, experienced manager is always worth more than one that doesn’t have one. Consider there are basically 2 types of people who buy business. Investors buy businesses to make a return on their cash investment and these guys REQUIRE a trained manager in place. Entrepreneurs often buy businesses to make a return on their money but to also give themselves something to do. In other words, they want to be the Team Leader or CEO. However, if you have one of these people looking to buy your business how hard do you think it’s going to be to convince them that they can buy the business, get the return they want, AND work on what they want when they want? Worst-case scenario they can easily remove the existing manager if they really want to, however most people won’t do that.
  2. You’ll enjoy it more – All business owners want the same thing – A business that predictably puts money in their bank account with the freedom to choose when they work and what they do. The only way that dream is possible is if you have a go-to guy or gal running the operations every day whether you’re there or not. Now if you like actually doing the plumbing for your plumbing business or tax returns for your accounting business who is going to tell you not to? No one. You’re the owner. You can still choose what you want to do when you have someone else in charge of putting out the fires.
  3. The business will be better for it – If your job and responsibility every day is to work ON your business and not IN it, what do you think is going to happen to your business? Let me tell you. It’s going to get better. When you can start spending your time working on improving your referral system, customer experience, team building and retention, and shopping for better vendors (you know, all those things you don’t have time for now) isn’t it obvious that the business is going to be better?

So if you’re the technician in your business and there’s is just no way you’ll be able to leave for 3 months on a European vacation and return to a healthy business what are you going to do?

You basically have 2 options:

  1. Teach yourself everything you possibly can about building a business to run without you. In other words, learn about business. Not your specific business or industry or niche. Just about building businesses in general. To do this, you’ll realistically need to read about a hundred books and put into action all the things you learn from them. Start with the books on my Entrepreneur Books list. You’ll also want to start learning from owners whose businesses do run without them and start attending seminars and webinars to help you learn how to maximize 3 essential parts to every successful business – Sales/Marketing, Finance/Accounting, and Service/Operations. If you’re this kind of hands-on, self-taught person, then by all means take this route. This is obviously what I have done and continue to do. It will literally take you several years and in the process you may realize that your business just isn’t capable of that vision and decide to sell it and look for one that can accomplish your goals.
  2. Work with a Business Engineer to help get you on the fast-track. Enlist the help of someone who has already done the items in number 1 with one or more businesses and who can quickly evaluate the status of your business and help you put together the plan to move it to the next level. If you’re located anywhere in the US or Canada and have Internet access and a phone line, we can help. Contact me to learn more about the process. You can also read my blog about why business coaches and consultants won’t work to get a better idea of what Business Engineering is all about.

So what are you doing to do today and this week to take that step from a job owner to a business owner? Don’t put it off. If nothing else, email me saying you enjoyed the read and would like to try either option 1 or 2 above and would like to know where to start.

To your business-owning success, Bryan

300 businesses failed in NYC for this reason…

Brooklyn Heights PromenadeAt my job I get to talk to all kinds of interesting people from all over North America and on Tuesday (2/5/08) I spoke with a gentleman in NY who used to be a consultant with 300 clients in NYC.

At one point I made the comment that, “one of the problems I see in businesses is that people who can install water softeners think that means they’re going to be good at running a water softening business – and that’s just not true.”

The consultant said “That’s exactly right!”

Me: “It’s just like Michael Gerber talks about in the The E-Myth

Consultant: “What book? by who?”

After giving him a brief explanation of the book, the author, and emailing him a list of 12 books I recommend for improving profits, he begins to tell me a story.

He said that he had a consulting business in New York City with 300 clients who all eventually failed because not one of them would take the time to make a simple business plan. He talked about one client in particular who had a great business of singing telegrams (I believe that’s what he said) that was growing fast and she wanted to expand to other cities. However she refused to make a business plan so the consultant did for her. He showed her that she would never make money at her current prices and needed to increase them. She claimed she knew her costs and could make money and stayed in business for quite a while out of sheer determination. She eventually folded, has a “normal” job, and is in a huge amount of debt because of that business venture.

The fact that 300 out of 300 business owners were “technicians” in their start-up businesses and they all failed because they didn’t know how to work on their businesses instead of just in them is no real surprise. After all, Gerber told us all about that.

What shocked me was that a business consultant hadn’t read a single book out of my varied list of 12 recommended business books. The list included at least 4 best sellers and the The E-Myth Revisited in particular was rated as the #1 business book by Inc. 500 CEOs.

Granted, this consultant turned businessman seems to be doing very well with his current venture and must have an amazing sales presentation as he sells his equipment for at least 50% more than any other similar business that I’ve encountered in all of North America. That takes at least a little skill.

The other thing that strikes me as funny is that a good mechanical engineer friend from college decided to get a MBA. I obviously chose to dive head-first into the business world to learn instead. He claims that the primary goal of a business is to acquire customers – I argued that the primary goal of a business is to make a profit. Sounds like that lady might have gone through the same business classes since she had plenty of customers – and seemed to forget about profit…

What do you think about the consultant? About MBA programs teaching that customers are the primary goal of every business? Of my crazy affinity for books? lol

To your success, Bryan

BTW – I’ve since changed my opinion on the primary goals of a business with some insights from Built to Last.