• Dave Beam

Do You Own a Business or a Job?

Here is an interesting definition of a true business: “A true business is a commercial, profitable enterprise that works without the owner!”


Michael Gerber, in his business classic The E-myth Revisited, challenges the common myth that businesses are started by entrepreneurs. He says that is rarely the case. Instead, most businesses are started by technicians that want the freedom of self-employment. A dog groomer starts a dog grooming business. A chef starts a restaurant. An artist starts to sell his paintings. A plumber starts a plumbing business. An accountant starts an accounting firm.


What typically occurs is that someone becomes weary of working for someone else and decides that they would be much better off being their own boss. In what Gerber deems an entrepreneurial seizure, they plunge headlong into the adventure of small business ownership. The problem is that for a business to survive, grow and sustain, it needs more than just someone to do the work (the technician). It also needs a manager (an organizer/director) and a true entrepreneur (visionary, business developer, dreamer and creator). Every business owner has the potential to be all three, but most small business owners default to the endless work of trying to get everything done as a technician. What gets neglected managerial organization and entrepreneurial leadership and vision. The beautiful hope and dream often turns into a depressing trap and overwhelming nightmare. It has been estimated that 80% of new small businesses fail within the first five years, and another 50% of those that survive beyond the initial five years fail within the next five years.


This does not need to be the case! If you currently have a business that is more a burden than a blessing, and you feel like there has to be a better way, there is!


The first step to transforming your business into a commercial, profitable enterprise that works without you is to come out of denial and admit your need for help. It’s more than just working harder. The proverbial definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Once you admit you need some help, a great next step would be to get a copy of E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber and read it. Another helpful book that I use with my clients is Traction by Gino Wickman. For you to thrive, you must become a learner and be intensely curious.


You also must have a useful, marketable product and service. If all that is true, there is a way to create a system and structure that will transform your business into a joy and not a burden. Imagine what it would be like to have a business that truly was profitable and sustainable without you,. Such a business would be a stronger, better business for sure. You would then have the freedom and option to work in the business when you want to, and pursue other opportunities and interests as well. It is possible to get there, but it takes knowledge, focus and disciplined action.


One final warning. Be cautious where you seek help. Taking advice and counsel from most other small business owners will give you what they have, which is failure most of the time. I recommend that you seek counsel from people who manifest the joy, freedom and results that you are seeking.

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