According to the SBA over 80 percent of the 29.6 million small businesses are owned and ran by a solopreneur (single person). These businesses are often very successful and the owners are satisfied with the results they are getting. They generally are working very hard, but they’re ok with this. Often, they intend to pass the business on to family members. Solopreneurs think, also, that real economic and personal freedom isn’t possible because they must keep the grind just to stay afloat. Vacations are hardly ever taken. Work is all there is. So, they go on like this for several years until they just can’t physically or mentally do it any more.
This is the basic arrangement, but if you are a solopreneur, think of what could happen if you were able to share your wonderful product or service with more people and make a larger impact on the world.
Solopreneurs or small businesses in general, make up 99.9% of all firms in the U.S. and contribute millions of dollars to the economy each year.( SBA Office of Advocacy) This is a fantastic contribution and you are influencing many lives for the better. You could increase your contribution and influence more people if you change your mindset from that of the solopreneur to the mindset of a CEO.
Your business could grow to serve more people and you could even expand to more locations. All of this could be done in the same amount of time you’re putting into your business every day. It just requires thinking of the business in a different way and, of course, performing different tasks.
Martin Zwilling reported, “Over 25 years ago, Michael E. Gerber wrote a best-selling business book called The E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. “The E-Myth (Entrepreneurial Myth) is the mistaken belief that most businesses are started by people with tangible business skills, when in fact most are started by ‘technicians’ who know nothing about running a business. Hence most fail.”
The importance of business management skills isn’t widely appreciated even with the Google Library and You Tube University where all the information you would ever need is available to everybody. Most new business owners don’t realize the need for “tangible business skills”.
Therefore, most businesses are started by professional technicians with great skills and no knowledge of the management skills needed to help the business thrive and multiply.
With the help of Martin Zwilling, contrasting the mindsets of the professional and the business builder will highlight the change in perspective required for building a strong and growing business.
The Professional or Technical Perspective(the Soloprenuer)
- How much work should I do to get the income I need to stay in business? The owner is concentrating on the volume of work that he/she must personally complete to keep the business running.
- What should we offer the customer? Concentration is on the size and scope of the service or product and what is required to please the customers.
- How much should your product/service cost to produce and what should be the cost to the customer? Understanding the financial requirements and results in the business is foremost.
- How will we get the basic materials we need to supply the product? Supply chain requirements are considered and chosen.
- How can I get additional funding? Venture capital or loans are considered for operating costs.
- How can we market this business to get more customers? Marketing options are considered and chosen according to available funding.
- How will I hire people when I need them and how will I pay them? Hiring workers or getting volunteers are contemplated but often avoided.
The focus is on the present and attempting to keep things as they are now. Seeing what has worked in the past and what seems to be working now is the total consideration of the owner. This perspective often fails.
Of course, these tasks must be completed in any business, but with a different perspective, a good amount of stress is removed because you have business skills to design a Vision and plan for handling the required tasks more efficiently with projected timelines. The motivation and energy you will get from this action will surprise you.
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” Sun Tzu
The Business Builders’ Perspective
- How should my business work in today’s environment? This perspective takes into account the changing environment of the business and research is completed to help design how the business will work today and in the future.
- What are my competitors doing that I should know about? A careful analysis of existing successful, related businesses is completed to determine the state of the art in the chosen discipline. Internet searches make this task easily accomplished.
- What meaning can we bring to the marketplace? The contribution to society the business will make is taken into consideration and held as guiding principles in the business.
- What should my business look like in the future? A Vision of the future is carefully described and used as a business target.
- What strategy should I adopt to get to that Vision? An analysis of where you are in the business building process, what targets you wish to reach and how you are going to reach these targets is thought through, designed and documented. This is your strategy.
- What Systems should be in place to ensure consistent results that satisfy customers and create the best results? These will be routine ways of running the business that can be easily repeated in all important operations. Examples would be a marketing system, a financial system or a customer service system that works the same every time unless changes are indicated.
- How can we be better than the rest? Attention to innovation, improvement, excellence and industry leadership are important considerations for this owner.
There are other elements, of course, for each perspective. The listed ones are just a few major differences in the thinking processes of the professional and the business builder. The truth is, the business owner must carry out both roles. Your artistic application of state-of-the-art management skills will help you organize and control all aspects for the sustainability and growth of your business.
The business builder takes the perspective of the CEO who sees the big picture, then plans for business fortification, endurance and expansion. You don’t see yourself as always keeping your head down grinding out the work and hoping you will eventually get help. You believe there is great help out there for building a growing business and you know there are proven ways to get excellent workers as well as proven ways to carry out the role of CEO.
You see yourself as the founder of a great or legacy business that will be a benefit to society and help gain financial and personal freedom for yourself and your employees. So, it’s obvious, if we analyze the questions a CEO asks, the mindset for running the business is entirely different from the mindset of the solopreneur.
If we consider this information, we can conclude that there are 5 steps to moving from the soloprenuer perspective to the CEO perspective.
- Clarify your ultimate business Purpose and commit to it. Include a clear description of the contribution you want to make to your customers. Understand the need for every business affiliate to commit to your Purpose.
- Design a strong Business Core and embed it deeply into your mindset and the mindset of of all workers. This is the key to your success. You will be the one to control the operations in your business and ensure that the Core is reflected in all Systems. You will also be the first modeler of what is important in your business. Your Core will contain your Purpose, Values, Vision and Strategy.
- Become a continuous learner and stay ahead of industry news and innovation. This practice will give you insight for creativity and innovation. Your business survival and growth will depend on your ability to change and adapt your Systems to current and changing requirements.
- Design Systems that can be replicated and improved by anyone working in your enterprise. Your Systems will be the standard no matter who is working them. This allows your operations to be consistent across each of your businesses.
- Firmly establish your uniqueness to remain relevant in your industry. It’s a lot easier to highlight your uniqueness rather than keeping your eye on winning over the competition. It’s good business to be aware of what the competition is doing, but your energy should be spent on establishing and maintaining your uniqueness.
The specifics of managing from the CEO perspective can be learned easily with the availability of knowledge in our time. It’s worth the time and energy when you consider the financial and personal freedom as well as the fulfillment you will enjoy as you build a great and growing enterprise.
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