on 11 July 2011
Michael Gerber explains the myths surrounding what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
The myth being that lots of people fired up to start their own business, believe that they will become successful purely through their own passion or skill.
The passion could come from spare time hobbies such as jewellery making or craft type activities.
The skill could be as a result of experience such as joiners, engineers, design consultants and hair dressers. In fact many self employed people are simply practicing their acquired knowledge.
Now, you might be the best hairdresser in the world but it doesn't mean you're any good at business.
Michael Gerber blows this thinking apart by explaining that really, you need to be multiple of four things when operating your own business.
A good manager of people
Good with numbers
Good with Strategy
And good at the job you do - the skill or the passion
He says "If your business is to change, as it must continually do so in order for it to thrive, YOU must change first"
He talks at great length in the book about the fact that you're really balancing these four personalities throughout your business.
You're the guy doing the actual job. You're the numbers guy keeping a track of the profit and cash coming in. You're the strategist - looking forward and deciding where the business is heading. And you're the manager keeping everything together.
Now the difficulty is, is that these four personalities or characters are conflicting in nature.
The strategist is always looking forward, always coming up with new ideas and always pushing the boundaries.
The numbers guy "the bad guy" says wait a minute, let's just make profit with the jobs we've got...let's not go off on some tangent.
And the manager keeps a tight ship. Co-ordinating the workforce and reconciles any differences in order to achieve the objectives.
Now the manager doesn't like the strategist because he's always going off and doing wild and crazy stuff.
The strategist doesn't like the numbers guy because the numbers guy won't allow the strategist buy the really cool stuff he needs to accomplish his crazy idea.
And the skilled guy doesn't like anybody because he just wants to go off and get stuff done in peace.
So you have this conflict.
And Michael Gerber explains this really, really well as to why you have these conflicting interests.
So you have to realize what these conflicts are and how to actually deal with them.
He talks about growth as well.
He says your job is to prepare yourself and your business for growth. This is really key because the business should not be something static.
Something that you setup and leave in the hope that it will work. You need to be growing and working on your business all the time.
And that's another key part -
Is that you need to be working on your business not in it.
So basically you have to rise above the nitty gritty stuff - the daily details. You need to be the entrepreneur working in the higher level. Looking at where the business is going and the people and process needed to get there.
And has he xplains, how you do this is to develop systems.
Its systems that drive the business not the people. You could have the best people in your business.
The best administrator, the best researcher etc. but if they don't know a system they will never get it done in the way that you like.
The idea is that you can run any business in a systemized fashion. Whether it's cutting hair or a fast moving production line. These things can be broken down into systems.
It also means that you don't become dependent on any one individual. Because if that person leaves they don't take all the knowledge and expertise with them because it's the system that is the value in your business.
Another thing what he talks about is getting yourself out of the box.
If you can imaging when you're starting in business it's natural to try and do everything yourself.
Usually because it's the most cost effective and comfortable way of doing things in the beginning.
But the problem is that you end up occupying every box. You have to be the sales guy, the financial guy, the production guy, the marketing guy. And as your business grows, you'll find yourself being stretched thinner and thinner.
Your key role as business owner is to get out of all these boxes and put systems in place that can be run by somebody else.
So in effect you promote yourself out of the boxes (the daily detail) so you're at the top just simply counting all the cash.
In the end the business is not your life. The business is not something you do to live. A business should support your life. A business should give you the time, the money and the freedom to do what it is you want to do.
You don't want to be doing this as a means unto it's self.
And to understand that you need to read this marvelous book.