Guest Columnist - Jon Fields
Posted: March 1, 2013
Instead of working on their business, many owners and managers find themselves trapped working in their businesses, slaving away and grinding it out. Instead of working on tomorrow, small business owners are often preoccupied about today. As a result, they end up majoring in minor things They worry about office supplies instead of office processes. They focus on accounting details instead of holding their employees accountable. They fixate on their mail, e-mail or cell phone calls instead of communicating their expectations to their key managers or employees.
Many small business owners were probably successful technicians that caught the entrepreneurial bug several years ago and bought, inherited or started a business related to their technical skills. These business owners are too comfortable with and too good at handling such details. Sadly, the technical day-to-day guts of the business are addictive and tough to escape. A technician's mindset and mode of operation are insufficient for running a business.
Here are two examples to drive home the point. Being a good computer programmer and running a successful programming business are two different roles and worlds. Writing code is technical and tactical work. Just because you know how to do the daily technical work of programming, for example, doesn't mean you know how to design, build and manage a business that does the work of programming. Programming code has not prepared you for the key functions of the business: Selling, marketing, client service, finance, leadership, business systems, people management, etc. Technical experience is insufficient background for running a company.
Similarly, if your background is selling, finance or production, your bias will get you buried in the selling, financial and production details of the business. You must escape your technical conditioning. Hire others to handle such matters, if necessary.
Business ownership is all about strategic leadership, not technical doer-ship. Few owners understand and appreciate such critical distinctions. Tragically, owners mistake a technician's orientation for that of an entrepreneur's. They mistake busy-being-busy activity for accomplishment. They confuse hard work for intelligent work. They fail to grasp that running a business is strategic, entrepreneurial, visionary and requires strong leadership.
Jon Fields owns The Growth Coach and is a local professional public speaker for conferences, associations or other business groups. He can be reached at:J.Fields@TheGrowthCoach.com.