Entrepreneurs, Do You Run a Business or Work for One?

As the economy continues to push along and recover, more people are deciding that they want to take a risk and open a business. For many firsttime entrepreneurs, the most obvious challenge is the change from receiving a paycheck to an “eat what you kill” compensation structure. While the compensation challenge is daunting and obviously one of the most pressing, there is another challenge that is equally important but often overlooked.

Most people start businesses based on an idea for a product or skill they have developed over their professional lives. They are great at what they do and people want to do business with them. They haven’t had time to learn about the other functions of their business, so they continue to focus on their trade or product. The business begins to grow and the work starts flying through the door. All of a sudden, the new owner is working 80 hours a week and not necessarily being compensated enough. The business may add staff to help, but the owner is still “locked”  into the business because ALL decisions must be made by her; no one else has authority to make things happen.

Believe it or not, this is how many successful businesses look. In essence, the entrepreneur has created a “job” for themselves. In other words, they have created a company dependent solely on their presence, the growth potential of which is pretty limited. This concept is explored in Michael Gerber’s series of books entitled The E-Myth Revisited. Gerber discusses how technicians start businesses but never learn how to get out of the way so that the business can stand on its own. His book has helped me start changing my approach to my business and I would suggest any entrepreneur add this to their library.  

How about you?  Is your business a job or an enterprise?

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