Many of us have been business owners. We weren’t always business owners. Once upon a time, we were employees who thought … “wouldn’t it be great to have my own”.
Perhaps we dreamt of wealth creation, of freedom, of all the extra time we would have, of being able to ‘call the shots’. Whatever it was that brought us here… there is a point in time when we are in the seat as business owners. Then we have this dawning of realisation that there is a big gap between what we thought owning a business would be like and what it actually is like.
This varies from person to person, depending on the scope and size of the business, your previous experiences and skills, as well as the makeup of your team. Regardless, it is felt by most business owners to some degree at some time in their journey. At the worst end of the spectrum business owners experience something vastly different from their dreams, finding themselves spending long hours of their time tied to mountains of tedious but seemingly important tasks – accounting, administration, cashflow management, problem solving, and others. On reflection, they are spending the majority of their time doing tasks which are not enjoyable to them and certainly not assisting them to grow their business.
Why and how does this happen? How can dreams be shattered so quickly? It’s simple really. Most entrepreneurs who experience these scenarios are putting their effort into the wrong areas. They are fundamentally off track about what it takes to own, build and manage a sustainable growth enterprise.
The most successful and fastest growing businesses are owned and led by people who understand that their role is not to do more tasks, or be the jack of all trades in the business, but to create systems in their business which facilitate leverage. Systems enable business owners to move from ‘doing’ tasks to managing people who ‘do tasks’ for them. These entrepreneurs have successfully made the shift from buying or creating self-employment to owning and managing a real enterprise. They have moved from working harder – doing more and more ‘in the business’ – to working smarter ‘on the business’.
When business owners are not exhausted working ‘on tasks’, they have more optimism, can think more creatively and are more innovative. This means they are better able to build enterprises where there is a higher level of predictability and certainty, thus reducing risk, enabling productivity and quickly gaining leverage which leads to growth. It’s ironic, but predictability and consistency are also the foundations of winning the trust and confidence of customers. It’s makes sense. When customers come to know what is expected of your business, they trust you more, they engage and become more loyal. Further to that, productivity and engagement of team members improves when they know what is expected and have the resources available to deliver on those expectations. All of sudden what started out as a dream, starts to gain traction and become reality.
If it’s that simple… why do so many business owners struggle to achieve this reality? There are lots of reasons, but often the most telling is that they have failed to create a ‘System’ or ‘Way’ for their business. Everything in a business from lead generation to after sales service can be systemised for consistency and predictability. In an interesting twist this has a positive effect on all the parties. Team members are winning, customers are winning and business owners have removed the ‘hit and miss’ style that locks others into misery and negativity. System development leads to the business having its ‘own way’ of doing things and puts it onto the path to success.