Every business has two equally important parts.
The first part is what the business does. The second part is how the business runs. Both of these parts of the business have to operate effectively for the business succeed. If you focus on only one or the other, you are headed for trouble.
Let’s take a look at each of these parts of the business.
What the business does
What the business does is simply what product or service it provides. A lawyer provides legal services. A restaurant provides prepared meals. Doing the work of the business well is required for success. But it isn’t enough.
Most people who start and run small business spend most of their time working on this part of the business.
This happens for a simple reason.
It’s because most people start businesses doing the the thing they are good at. A lawyer starts a law firm. A chef opens a restaurant. Doing the work of the business is what they’ve always done. Its their comfort zone. This is what I call the technician role in the business.
The business will run into many problems when you focus only on this part of it.
One of the biggest is the inability to scale. There are only so many hours a day you can do the work. This naturally limits the amount of money the business can make. This also means the only avenue to making more money is to work more, which has an upper limit. This is a recipe for burnout.
Running the business
The other part of business is the running of business. This is the part that’s concerned with leadership, marketing, sales, staffing, and service. This is the part of the business that figures out how you’re going to do the thing the business does.
This is the part that most people who start small businesses ignore. This happens for a few reasons. One of the biggest is that many small business owner simply don’t know how to do this part of the work.
But this is what makes the business run well. It’s what allows the business to scale. Its what makes it possible for the business to do what it does.
The good news is that the skills of running a business can be learned.
Running the business requires the manager and the entrepreneur. The manager is the personality that organizes the resources so the work gets done. The entrepreneur has the vision that directs where the company is trying to go.
The chart below shows what happens when you put your focus in one place or the other.
The lower left quadrant, low focus on both what the business does and running the business is not a good place to be. If you’re in this quadrant, you either don’t have a business or you aren’t going to for much longer.
The technician lives in the upper left quadrant. This is a low focus on running the business but high focus on doing the work.
This is exactly the spot where many small businesses are trapped. While the owner may be making a decent living, they haven’t created a business. They’ve created a job for themselves. Often, the business owner would be better off going to work for somebody else.
Moving to the lower right quadrant, we have the people who focus on creating business structures but can’t execute. For whatever merits the structure of the business might have, it’s inability to do the work will doom it to failure.
Finally, we have the upper right quadrant. This is where you find the businesses with strong focus on both doing the work and running the business. These are the successful companies. This is where you want to be.
So how do you get there?
For most people, the challenge is moving from the upper left to the upper right. So that’s what I’ll focus on.
The first thing that has to happen for business owner is this.
They have to recognize that they are now the leader of a business. And then they have to start acting like one.
At first, that means carving time out to work on the business instead of in the business. The time spent working on the business is time spent building the management systems that make the business function. As those systems are built, then the work is about bringing the resources for the systems to function.
The goal is for the owner to get free of the work of the business.
Once they’ve achieved that, owners have the freedom to decide where, when, and how they work. This is the exact freedom that most were hoping for when they started the business in first place.
Once this is been achieved, the owner has all sorts of options.
They can continue to work in the business because they enjoy it. They can spend their time doing other things that fulfill them. They can do these things knowing that the business will run just fine without them.
Or, they can sell.
Now that they have a business that doesn’t rely on them, they have something of value to other people. Before, when they were the technician doing all the work in the business, the business had no value to anyone but them.
As a coach, this work of moving people from the upper left quadrant to the upper right quadrant is exactly what I do. This transformation builds stronger businesses, and gives the owner more life.
Is This something you like for your business? Call me.