For my first Blog post, I've decided to recommend some reading that I think will be helful to anyone starting out in business for themselves. One of my favourite business books is Michael Gerber's "The E-Myth Revisited: Why most small businesses don't work and what to do about it", published by Harper Business, originally in 1995.
I first read it about ten years ago, and I find myself drawn back to it from time to time as I remind myself that my business needs me to actually pay attention to it for it to continue to thrive. That might sound like an oddly obvious statement, but the fact is that, for many people, once they start out in their own businesses, they become so all-consumed in the "doing" of their business, they fail to realise that there is more to their business than them just "doing what they do".
In fact, for many, within a very short time, the “doing” of their business becomes something different to what they originally set out expecting it to be. The therapist, who wanted to get away from being an employee and become their own boss running their own practice because they wanted the freedom that this would give them, finds themselves once more in A JOB. But now that job is taking much more of their time and energy that they had anticipated, and the joy of being their own boss is gradually disappearing under 101 chores that just seem to keep coming. As an employee, all they had to do was turn up and do their job – the therapy that they love doing (Gerber calls this role “The Technician”) – but now, as a business owner, there seems to be so much more to think about!
We are all expert technicians in our various fields, but once we step out of an environment where the only role we have to fulfil is that of the Technician, where we are “simply” employees, we find that being a business owner demands other roles of us now too – Admin Person; Receptionist; Bookkeeper; Debt Collector; Marketing and Advertising Executive; Business Development Consultant … to name but a few.
“Doing therapy (or coaching)”, being the Technician, is what earns the money that pays the bills, but suddenly just “doing therapy” isn’t enough if we want our businesses to develop and thrive. We need to learn lots of new skills AND work out how to accommodate all of these roles into our working lives without sacrificing that precious work/life balance that was probably one of the motivators for taking this self-employed route in the first place. In time, we may farm out some of these roles to staff as our business grows, but three roles HAVE to remain our responsibility. Gerber calls these The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and the Technician.
We know what the Technician does, but we have to learn how to balance this role with that of the others. The Entrepreneur needs to have the vision for where the business is going and be able to work on developing ideas for how to grow the business further. The Manager needs to be able to keep the Entrepreneur under control, but also ensure that the Technician has the structure in place to be able to do the best job they can and fulfil the remit of the business.
When we start out, our main role is as the Technician, but over time, if we don’t learn these other roles, we will struggle. However, learn to incorporate all three roles, making time to focus on the duties of each role and allowing adequate space in your working week to let each play their part effectively, and you will see your business develop into the one you set out to create.
Where are you in this process? Have you identified your roles properly yet? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below. If you would like the opportunity to work with me to progress your practice more efficiently, please don't hesitate to contact me. Email [email protected]
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Okay then, let's do this!