Small Business Owner….or Entrepreneur

I recently re-read a book that I first read in 2005. eMyth Revisited, was originally written in the 90’s and then updated in the early 2000’s.

Despite the massive advancement in technology and behaviours in the nearly 20 years since publication, I believe that the same human behavioural issues exist for todays SME founders and owners.

The most profound question emanating from the writings is the question that many SME founders and owners must often ask themselves during the pursuit for the business and lifestyle they dreamed about establishing, is ……“am I doing what I set out to achieve?”

Other questions, such as “why am I working harder than my employees, yet earning less per hour then them?” are also often asked by disenchanted SME entrepreneurs.

The eMyth Revisited  talks of the 3 business owner personality types of; the Technician, the Manager, and the Entrepreneur. Without plagiarising the entire book, the author’s observations are that it is more often the “Technician” who, for numerous reasons, such as perceived freedom or autonomy, idealistic goals of product or services quality and untold wealth, decide to enter the small business ranks.

These attractive goals of the Technician are often dashed, leading to disenchantment, financial and personal stress, and unfortunately a very high proportion of business failure.

The Technician needs to understand the need to adopt the skills and behaviours of a great and clinical Manager, as well as the vision and single-mindedness of the skilled Entrepreneur, if the dream is to be realised without suffering the failure that as many as 44% of all small businesses start-ups suffer.

So what factors allow a small business, founded by a Technician and developed by the Manager, achieve the maturity and success that allows the Entrepreneur to sell the business for a significant gain?

As common sense would suggest, there is no single answer, BUT..….there is a single mindset or philosophy that defines all successful businesses. This behaviour is that of the true Entrepreneur who invests his or her energy on the business and NOT, as the technician would do, of working predominantly in the business and delivering the best products or services.

A very brief list of “entrepreneurial behaviours” designed to improve the business might include; 

• Build a great team who are responsible for creating or producing your products or services

• Ensure that the business owner is not the key person of the business

• Work on the processes or systems of the business such that with appropriate intelligence, skills and training, all of the employees of the business deliver a consistent product or services to the customers.

• Delegate responsibilities throughout the business with a considered organisational structure with appropriate responsibilities.

• Seek appropriate and skilled advice and assistance (ie buy the expertise where necessary)

• Adopt the philosophy that the business is the product itself, and work on making the business the best it can be, and NOT the Technicians goal of making the best product.

In overview, this philosophy and these behaviours treat the business as the product, and not the products & services themselves. How does this philosophy sit within your business and your behaviours?

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