A Cautionary Tale

Tell me if this sounds familiar. Person “A” works in an industry for years, learning, implementing, becoming excellent at product knowledge, having excellent attention to detail and outstanding customer service.

They think “Hey! Why should the owner get all the money? I should own my own business.” So the person decides to open a new office, hang their shingle and get to work. They do well for a while, working hard at taking care of their customers, ensuring each one is given attention to detail whenever they interact with them. The business has built up a decent-sized client list and really enjoys the smiles on their faces. They hire a person or two but not everyone seems to work out after they are given just a couple of days of training on the software and expected to sink or swim.

Person “B” works in an industry for years, learning, implementing, becoming excellent at product knowledge, having excellent attention to detail and decent customer service. They then buy the business they were working in. They get training in every aspect of their business, either putting new systems in place or maintaining current systems to assist in taking care of every component of the business. They hire staff, training them properly vs just throwing them on a computer after a couple of days of showing them the ropes. They work their business and also enjoy the fruits of their labor with time off when it’s appropriate.

Here’s the problem. “Business owner A” has spent too much time working IN their business vs. ON their business.

They have been focusing on minutiae vs. the big picture of where their business wants to go and should be going in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years. The same business doesn’t reinvest in software that can help actively promote to its customer base. It focuses too much on the sales and customer service (which is a VERY important mind you) but many businesses fail because they CAN’T outsell their problems in other areas. The business doesn’t focus on efficiency in and out of the office.

Business owner B has put systems in place that will run efficiently, trained their staff appropriately and/or hired out experts to handle that part of their business. Business Owner B has an active business plan, not just one that was drawn up years ago and filed in a drawer somewhere when they needed start-up capital if they even had one made at all. Business Owner B takes time to re-energize and rewards their staff for a job well done with incentives both personally and professionally.

Systems are crucial and they MUST be in every facet of your business…not just one or two.

Many people dislike the word “systems.” They think that it templatizes things too much. Those systems take the human element out of the connection with the client, the numbers and those systems can destroy the heart and soul of the business. To the contrary, systems allow you to re-energize your heart and soul into your business. Systems keep you sane. It’s VITAL to the life support of your business. Without it your business (and your wallet) will just flatline.

It’s amazing to me how two different businesses, both in the same town, both in the same industry can have two COMPLETELY different outcomes. Business Owner “A” right now is just going through life, without having a clear path or vision. They more than likely won’t have anything to sell when they wish to retire because they ARE their business. Business Owner “B” can retire whenever they wish, gives back to the community when they can and invests in new technology for their business and invests in their employees.

Which one do you want to be and where do you want to go? The key is in the work and counsel you seek. Choose (research) wisely.

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