Running a business - what, and why
Starting out, or starting over
- Setting up the business so that it will run without you
- Focusing on improvements, your number one job as the owner
- Constantly educating yourself
Automation and delegation
Setting up the business so that it will run without you
What does it mean to set up the business so that it will run without you? In short, the twin titans of automation and delegation are the crux of managing any small business. Imagine being Bugs Bunny in the famous cartoon where Bugs plays every single position on the baseball team, from the outfield, to the infield, to pitching, to catching. Bugs manages to pull it off because... well, he's Bugs Bunny. You're not, and neither am I. You simply can't do it all by yourself, or maybe you can, but on an extremely small scale, but you'll never be able to do every single job at your business better than every single other employee you have. Delegation means giving some of these jobs to others to do, and automation means making things run automatically, without you having to do it every single time.
Bugs can play all positions, but you can't.
Focusing on improvements
Focusing on improvements
Constantly educating yourself
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What running a business is not
- Working for 16 hours a day every day (technical work)
- Putting out fires every day
- A get rich quick scheme
Working harder on technical work
Working for 16 hours a day every day (technical work)
Okay, so everyone knows that running a business isn't a cake walk. But what most of us might not understand at the onset (myself included) is that what you're in for isn't necessarily sixteen hour work days every day for the rest of your life as you strive to do more and more of the work of the persona Michael Gerber calls "the technician."
Being a firefighter
Putting out fires every day
Okay, sure, you're going to have to do a little bit of troubleshooting at first. Well, maybe an awful lot of it for a while. But you want to get away from the "keeping the ship from sinking" mentality over time, and gradually spend more and more time making the ship better, or guiding it in the right direction (an even better metaphor- you are, after all, the captain of the ship). If you visualize an urgent/important matrix, you'll want to spend most of your time in the "important" section, and that includes important things that are not urgent at all. In fact, this quadrant (the latter) represents where all of your improvements are going to come from.
The Urgent/Important matrix
The yellow quadrant (not urgent, but important) represents where nearly all improvements come from.
Quick and easy
A get rich quick scheme
Even though your whole goal is to have to do less and less day to day stuff over time, the reality is that you're going to need to spend a few years building up the automations and delegations that comprise a great system. If you had to go away for a year, your business should run just as smoothly on the 365th day of that year as it does on the first, but that year can't happen right now! It has to come much, much later (not that I'd ever want to go away from either of my businesses for a year, or even a month... but I know that I could if I had to).
You are in for a lot of hard work, to be certain - but there's a light at the end of this tunnel. The whole idea is to get to the point where you can focus on making those improvements, and then (and only then)... make them! Make all kinds of crazy improvements. You're going to have a tremendous edge over most businesses, because most owners either focus 100% on the technical stuff, or they just give up and assume they don't have to pay any attention to their businesses.