According to Michael Gerber, the author of the book E-Myth, the reason why most small businesses don’t work is that they are run by a “Technician” – someone who knows how to do the technical work involved in a job, without much thought to two other, equally important, roles – the “Entrepreneur” and the “Manager”.
The Technician is someone who is very good in his or her craft. The person can be a computer programmer, a pastry Chef, a Beautician, a Barber, a Dressmaker, an Automotive Technician, or even a housewife who can cook very delicious food. Most often, knowing very well how to do something leads people to go into business. Sometimes they are prodded by friends and family to do it, and sometimes it is their personal decision. They know they’re good at what they do so they tell themselves “why not get into business and make money out of it?”. Technicians can be considered experts in their craft but unfortunately, being good at something like cooking or sewing or drawing is not sufficient to ensure business success.
For a business to succeed, three (3) very critical things must be present:
- The business owner must be good at his or her craft;
- He or she must have the ‘entrepreneurial spirit’; and
- He must have (or at least learn and develop) good managerial skills.
What is “entrepreneurial spirit”? Basically it is an attitude, sometimes also called the “X” factor. It is that attitude which makes a person go after his ideas, visions, dreams, and plans even if others are saying don’t!
The Entrepreneur is the dreamer, the visionary. He or she sets out to do something new and ‘reaches for the stars’. Entrepreneurs live in the future, thinking about what could be, and they are generally risk takers. Unfortunately, not all people have the entrepreneurial mindset; it is something that can not be learned nor copied. However, its absence or the lack of it does not mean absolute failure on the part of the business. Success is still attainable even without it.
Managerial skills can be learned. Good managers are detail-oriented. They take care of the dots, the i’s, crosses the t’s, and the one who remembers to pay the bills. They are well-organized and they have a system that they follow religiously. In a nutshell, these three – the Technician, the Entrepreneur, and the Manager, are not separate people, but distinct elements of (our) personalities. And while many of us may be biased towards one, we all have all of them.
Now here’s the kick: to successfully run a small business, they must all play an active role. This means it’s not enough that you’re good at something; you also must have an entrepreneurial mindset and managerial skills. Wait! Someone can say … “I can always hire a manager to work for me in my business!” Well, that will be another topic later!
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