Do you work on your business or in your business?
There’s an adage amongst entrepreneurs that business owners should work on their businesses, not in them. That’s the difference between one little letter and one little preposition. This phrase was coined and popularized in the 1986 book E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do about It.
E-myth, short for Entrepreneurial myth, is this notion that entrepreneurs start businesses to turn a profit. However, “the reality is that most businesses are started by Technicians: people who’ve developed a technical craft working for someone else and have decided to strike out on their own.” Often, these technicians lack the experience, education, or business acumen necessary to run a successful business.
Operating under this assumption that you’ve found your business based on your expertise and a desire to “do better” or work for yourself, it’s easy to see how some get caught working in their business. But a business owner must work on their business. It isn’t enough to provide a service or manufacture a product; an entrepreneur must know about contracts, sales, marketing, advertising, networking, finance, bookkeeping, payroll, logistics and supply chains, and the various other legalities and intricacies of the daily operations of running a business.
In a previous blog post, I shared hiring tips, but first, I discussed the difficulty some owners have in delegating.
“To the Entrepreneur, the business operates without them. To the Technician, the business operates because of them. To the Entrepreneur, the business is the product. To the Technician, the business is a place to go to work every day.”
The beautiful thing about being an entrepreneur is that if you can push through these growing pains and find a way to focus on the running of your business instead of getting caught up in the daily minutiae, your business will evolve into an entity that is (or at least should be) capable of operating without you. Once you’ve reached this peak, where your business is working for you, you are free to contribute to the business in the ways you’d like, that interest you, and that is rewarding. Or you can sell your business and start the process over again just for the sake of a new challenge. Once you’ve mastered the process, you can apply it to most other industries, as these principles are (mostly) universal and true of all businesses.
So, if you are stuck working in your business and not on your business, that’s where I come in. Contact me to learn how Scaling Up can be the solution for you.