June 15, 2012

Is it a Job or a Business?

I have encountered clients who desperately want to grow their businesses, but are already feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do to keep their current operations running smoothly.

In most of these situations, we discover that they don’t really have a business, they have a job that they’ve created for themselves. They’ve actually created a self-employment situation. They may have employees, a range of products, repeat customers, and an infrastructure, but they have no freedom. You have a job if you absolutely have to be there (or reachable by phone) for the business to continue running. It’s a business if you can be away from it for months and have it still continue to thrive.

Many services businesses are really jobs.

A client who is a graphic designer had a storefront, employees, an organization chart, equipment, and all the accoutrements of a business. Yet she did all the graphic design work herself, and met with all of the clients. Her business could not grow until she recognized that she could only work so many hours a day. She had to let go of the idea that she had to do everything herself. While much of the practical work, such as layout, compositing, printing, etc., was handed over to employees, she still felt the need to be part of every design consultation, and every concept. Her business was constrained in size and scope until she could train and trust others to carry on her methods.

You may have started your business based on your own particular talents. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck there. By creating a few systems, you can free yourself from having to personally drive the business, and do the work day in and day out.

Others can be trained, taught, and groomed to meet your standards. You can put into place policies, procedures, techniques, and quality control to ensure your vision and your talent are being fulfilled. You can create systems that function without your direct involvement.

Instead of seeing this as diminishing your role, see it as an opportunity to expand your ideas and capabilities to a broader market. That will allow your business to grow.

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