Are you a professional looking to start your own business? Or maybe you’re already running a business and you have found out that the experience is far removed from the El Dorado that you had in mind when you started out.
Sooner or later, you will realise that being good at designing and making clothes does not mean you are automatically qualified to own a successful tailoring and fashion design business. You might be better off working for another fashion designer or teaching in a fashion school. The fact that you know how to drive well does not mean you can start a transport business. You may be a professor of education but that does not necessarily equip you to start a university or even a primary school.
Running a business requires various sets of skills and competencies, or more accurately, different kinds of personalities. You need the personalities of an entrepreneur, a manager and a technician all working towards a common goal. All those skills described in the preceding illustrations are technical skills. And in many cases, that’s what pushes people into business.
You just see a doctor wake up one day, for example, and say to himself, “I’m tired of this job! My boss doesn’t pay me well or even appreciate my work. It’s time to start my own hospital and become my own boss. After all, I already have sufficient experience in this field.” But that’s a mistake.
The fact that our doctor friend has the skills needed to be proficient at his job as a medical doctor does not mean he has what it takes to run the business of owning a clinic or hospital. And I believe you know that you don’t even have to be a medical practitioner to own a medical facility. You only need to understand the business, set up the required systems and get the right people to manage those systems.Your most important work as an entrepreneur is not getting the job done; your most important work is creating systems that get the job done and consistently improving those systems. Click To Tweet
That’s why people like David Oyedepo, Richard Branson and Aliko Dangote can have various kinds of businesses in diverse fields of interest that they are not technically qualified for. Imagine Richard Branson being personally involved with managing or executing the technical details of his more than 400 businesses. How possible is that and what would be the implication?
Let the entrepreneur lead the way
What I am saying in essence is that if you want to build a business that will stand the test of time, help you achieve financial freedom and live the life of your dreams, you cannot afford to think like a technician or even a manager. You must think like an entrepreneur.
In other words, you must understand that your most important work is not getting the job done; your most important work is creating systems that get the job done and consistently improving those systems. What does this mean for your business? It means implementing systems and processes that will help you work as an entrepreneur so that you can hire manager(s) and technician(s).
See these three personalities — entrepreneur, manager and technician — as the spirit, soul and body of your business. Just as the body without the spirit is dead, a technician without an entrepreneurial spirit will soon be out of business or at best, his/her business will not grow beyond subsistence level.
Just like the spirit powers and provides a vision for your life, the entrepreneur powers and provides a vision for your business. The manager is like the soul which provides coordination/organisation while the technician is like the body which handles execution. Take a minute to think about this illustration and let it sink in. You may have to fill the three roles yourself, especially when you’re just starting out, but you must be careful to prioritise each one accordingly.
Your goal should be to quickly get to that point where you can delegate, automate or outsource the work of the manager and technician so that you can focus on the work of the entrepreneur.The entrepreneur is the spirit that powers and provides a vision for your business. The manager is the soul, providing coordination/organisation while the technician is the body that gets things done. Click To Tweet
The systems mindset
One of the most important steps in this regard is to adopt a systems mindset. See your business as a system outside of yourself. A system is a group of independent but interrelated elements working together as a unified whole.
So, what are the independent but interrelated elements working together to create your business entity? You must identify everything you need to keep your business running and continuously deliver a satisfying experience to your customers. Note that I did not talk about delivering products and services; I talked about delivering an experience.
It’s very important that you understand this distinction because what your customers are really buying is the experience that you’re creating for them, not just the products and services. That’s why you need to have a business process with guiding principles and standard operating procedures that communicate competence and professionalism.
For example, at The Plenipotent Company, don’t attend business meetings without first receiving a detailed brief of what the meeting is about. We don’t just give pricing information on phone or by word of mouth, we send an invoice. And when the invoice is paid, we don’t just acknowledge receipt by word of mouth, we send an actual receipt via email. And when a project is completed we send a feedback form to gauge our effectiveness, customer satisfaction and a few important metrics. These are just a few examples of how you can adopt a systems mindset to simplify your life as a business owner, keep things organised, communicate professionalism and create a great experience for your customers.As a business owner you must understand that what your customers are really buying is the experience that you're creating for them, not just the products and services. Click To Tweet
Regardless of the products and services that your business is offering, there are dozens or even hundreds of other businesses that your customers can choose from. What will set you apart is the experience that you create for them and that experience is a function of your business process/the systems you have put in place to help you achieve consistency in excellent service delivery.
Your business process is inspired/undergirded by the entrepreneur in your business, implemented/maintained by the manager and executed/translated into physical deliverables by the technician. If you would like to explore this subject further, consider reading Work the System by Sam Carpenter and The E-myth by Michael E. Gerber.