Chapter 1: Awakening (con’t)…The Bike
Once you decide to start a business (or launch a new product or grow your business) there is a good chance you will wonder, where do I start? You probably feel incredibly overwhelmed. If you are anything like me, you may write a to do list. That’s a good start, the important thing is that you do something to start…beginnings are hard, procrastinating is easy and yet you cannot force or rush anything.
Alas, I digress! After I made my to do list, I started exploring my understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur and run a business. Then, slowly I began to realize that everything I thought I knew was wrong and that the first thing any of us needs to do is change our understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur…that’s the entrepreneur’s awakening that I have seen happen time and time again.
Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth wrote, “So if your business is to change-as it must continuously in order to thrive-you must change first. If you are unwilling to change, your business will never be capable of giving you what you want.”
The reality is, that as a business owner you are responsible for everything! When you were an employee your responsibilities were naturally finite. As an entrepreneur, there is no end to the variety of tasks you need to complete and the skills you need to develop.
Not only are you responsible for delivering a service or product to your customers. You also have to actually get customers. And on top of that you need to articulate the vision for your business success. All while making sure that you are managing the day to day operations effectively.
Deepening your knowledge about business is one of the greatest ways to cultivate your potential for success. Even if you are not doing everything for the business yourself, say you have a co-founder, hire a contractor or bring in an employee, you still need to know how to effectively delegate. Blindly trusting others and abdicating your responsibilities as a business owner is often a kiss of death!
The 3 4 Personalities of Business
In order to succeed, Gerber says you need three personalities present in your company. He describes these personalities as the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician. He does a great job explaining how these three personalities are crucial. But there is a fourth personalities that is missing.
The Entrepreneur is the dreamer, providing the vision of success, and the guiding values. These serve as the foundation from which your business is established as well as the ideal for which you are always striving.
The Manager, on the other hand brings order. It is the Manager personality that creates the systems and plans to achieve the vision for success. The Manager quantifies, orchestrates, and strategizes. While the Entrepreneur innovates new and exciting ways of doing things.
The Technician is the one that does all the heavy lifting. The Technician loves getting things done and without them, nothing would get done. Gerber asserts that most people who start a business are Technicians, which is why a lot of people end up having their lives run by their business!
The fourth missing personality is the Experimenter…this role is especially important for startups or those that are searching to successfully bring some innovation to market. The Experimenter posses questions, designs and executes on experiments, and assimilates the results. They do this for many facets of the business like finding new revenue streams or maximizing the productivity of their teams.
Describing Your Vision
There is not one right vision for your business. There’s the best vision for you; a good vision mostly excites you but scares you just a little too because it’s aspirational. If you are working with a co-founder, this is a critical conversation to have to ensure alignment before investing too much further in your shared endeavor.
Some people categorize businesses as either lifestyle or high growth ventures. The focus of a lifestyle business is to enhance and support the owners quality of life. Whereas a high growth venture is intended to grow…either growing big in size, think Apple, or growing big in value so you can sale it, think Instagram.
I find such either or thinking unnecessarily limiting for the misfit entrepreneur. Why not have your cake and eat it too? If that feels better, you may be like me and in it for the long game. Going for both lifestyle and growth takes time. It takes a concerted effort. If you’re really inspired by and dedicated to your vision, it’s worth it!
My vision for business success? As written in my journals, “Success is being an entrepreneur and having a family.” Simple, memorable, inspiring and just a little scary!
Michael Gerber’s book, the E-Myth Revisited, offers a simply framework to explain the dynamics of a business. He introduces the three different personalities needed in a business, the Technician, the Entrepreneur and the Manager.
The premise is that most owners are Technicians. When the Technician personality dominates a business owner, you end up doing all the work yourself. That is because you do not have the leadership of the Entrepreneur nor the orderly systems of the Manager. It is the symbiotic relationship of all three of these personalities that make a business operate like a well oiled machine.
While this analogy of the three personalities may seem overly-simplistic at first glance, the ease with which Gerber conveys the complicated dance of business is quite effective. Because the personalities of both the Entrepreneur and Manager are often overshadowed by the Technician, Gerber also provides a framework for which to incorporate those necessary components into your business. It is called the business prototype, but before you build out your own prototype it is advisable to test and prove you have a sustainable business model!
You have come this far, take it a bit further by deciding how to apply these ideas to your own business. Ponder these reflection questions.
What are your strengths in business?
In what areas of business do you need help/support?
What kind of business do you want to build?
What does business success look, feel and sound like for you?
I invite you to share your thoughts, reactions and suggestions in the comments below. Next I will share Awakening the Bike Ride (staying in constant motion with it)….