Working on, instead of in your business – I am sure that you have either been told to do this or told someone else to?
Over the past few weeks I have met a number of new clients that have informed me that they have been told to change their focus and spend more time on, instead of in the business. I have concluded that this is a myth – bear in mind that I am talking about owner managed operations with less than 200 staff, not a corporation run by senior directors who are focusing on shareholder value (a different animal all together).
Consider the facts; the majority of successful owner managed businesses that I have met are run by skilled people – be that in manufacturing or the service sector. They have a dedicated hands on approach; dealing with client issues, and day to day operational challenges. They understand their market and have developed an intuitive feel for what works and what doesn’t work; they are rarely experts in HR and finance and even more rarely are they MBA’s with an aptitude for strategic planning and implementation.
I decided to test this myth by asking a number of directors (owner managers) to comment on what they enjoyed and what they found to be the most satisfying part of what they do; with only one exception it was using the skills they had honed over many years for the commercial success and overall benefit of their company and staff. Most found the idea of having a hands off role to be boring; ineffectual and generally dissatisfying; in other words, they do not want to be behind a desk all of the time, nor do they want to delegate every aspect of the business to a management team.
I strongly believe that you work better and more effectively if you do what makes you happy and what you enjoy; in other words employing the skills that you have developed or using the knowledge you have accrued over many years. Running your own business will not suddenly make you an expert in organisational structures; HR; marketing or finance, but it may give you the wherewithal to bring those experts in to help you grow your business. So the next time someone says to you that you need to spend more time working on your business tell them it is a myth – successful owner managed businesses work in their business!