You may be operating at the wrong level

Double Your Business Book

19th March 2017

Gavin Preston

Double Your Business Book


“An optimist is the human personification of Spring” Susan J Bissonette

This is an extract from Chapter One of my forthcoming book “Double Your Business, How to Scale with Certainty”:

How you are getting in your own way….you may be operating at the wrong level.

Most people relatively early in their career get very accomplished at one thing.  They get very skilled in designing, negotiating, coding, product development, fixing things, finance/accounting, customer service, project management and the list goes on.  If they see their future within a larger company then this capability leads to work on projects that allow you to demonstrate their prowess and ultimately to promotion.

If they see their future in running their own business, this prowess leads to them setting up their own business fuelled by the vision that they can deliver that product or service better than their previous employer/others in the market were doing.

Your skills lead to success.

Either promotion by your employer or through increased sales in your own business requiring you to employ people to help you deliver on the increased demand.  People that need managing.

In his insightful book, The E Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber outlines three key roles or levels of operation any business needs: The Technician, the Manager and the Entrepreneur.

The Technician is the doer.  The technician lives in the present and is happy to be working on one thing at a time. The technician proudly defends the belief that if a job is to be done right, they need to do it themselves.  The technician is at their happiest when they are doing the task i.e. demonstrating the skill that they got good at earliest in the career. Their primary question is ‘How to do it?”

In order to scale any company needs to have the multiplying effect of a number of technicians, all of whom need managing.  The manager is pragmatic. They need order and introduce processes/standard operating procedures. They are planners and organisers.  They cling to status.

The Entrepreneur is the visionary. The Entrepreneur lives in the future spotting the trends and market opportunities.  They are creative.  They devise the plan to introduce new products/services that will take advantage of those opportunities. They crave control. They pass the plan to the manager to project manage the implementation of the work which the technicians do to make it happen.

To grow, all organisations need to have the roles of the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician fulfilled.

As human beings we gravitate towards doing the things we enjoy doing.  The better we are at a skill, the more we enjoy doing it.  Which in turn increases self esteem and our sense of self worth. We are, therefore, naturally pulled back to spending more time doing that which makes us feel good.  Many business owners get stuck at the level of technician.  The technician is the business. Remove the technician and the business would disappear.

Once the technician cannot cope with any more work they either employ more technicians and become a manager or they slow the growth of their business down, taking it back to the level at which they can cope.

The manager has their own limits too: the number of people they can manage.
Businesses that scale quickly are those designed to do so from the outset.  People are put into roles that deliver the product and service and provide the capacity for growth.  Processes are developed so those roles can be performed to the desired standards.

However, your current role in your business or the company you work within may require you to operate in all three roles.
One thing that I have observed that can ‘get in your own way’ is operating at a level below that which your business/role requires of you.

I have seen Managing Directors spending too much time ‘on the tools’ rather than leading the business.  i.e. operating as the technician rather than the entrepreneur.  I have seen founders of business who are naturally talented in the Entrepreneur role hanging onto the managing (director) role; a role that does not play to their strengths.

A recent client of ours had an MD who was a visionary.  He was fantastic at building external relationships with stakeholders in the organisations of new potential customers and winning significant new contracts.  He spent a lot of his time managing operations in his business and getting into the “thick of things”.

In order to grow, his business needed him to spend more time as the Entrepreneur and for a new Managing Director to be appointed to manage operations.  Someone who would have been better suited to that role.  By spending too much time as the manager he was actually holding his business back.

If you want to grow your business, be honest with yourself which role are you best suited to excel in?

If performing the role as the manager is not your strength, hire someone who is naturally good at that.  If you are stuck at the level of technician and you can’t stop yourself spending a large proportion of your time ‘on the tools’ then win so many orders or contracts that you are forced to hire quality technicians. Hire technicians who are even better technicians than you are so you create the time to operate as the Entrepreneur.

If you are not cut out to be the Entrepreneur and are excellent as a technician do two things. Firstly, become the best technician there is so that you become the go-to person and can command higher prices. Then either hire someone for your business that has those skills or go and join forces with someone who has those skills and needs the best technician in the market place.

Spend more time doing what you are brilliant at but not at the expense of stretching yourself by purposefully putting yourself into the realms of the uncomfortable.

So given tomorrow, the 20th March is officially the first day of Spring, decide it is time to let go of the old way of doing things so that you can grow.

If so, you will want to take advantage of my Spring offer in which I will spend a whole day working with you on your business to identify and remove the things that are holding back growth and develop your growth plan for the next year.

Given it is the start of Spring, a time of new growth, I have a sprightly offer open until 5pm on 31 March.  So, if you want to find out more about the amount of money I could help you put on your bottom line over the next 12 months, then click here for a no obligation exploratory call with me.

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