Dec 22, 2015

Guest Blog by David Romano, Benchmarkinc Founder

For those of you who find yourself constantly overwhelmed at work, I have a great gift suggestion.  Grab a cup of coffee, settle down in your most comfortable chair, and crack open the book, “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber.   If you haven’t read this book, it just may change your life as a business owner.   If you have read it and you are still stuck working in your business instead of on it, time to read it again.

The book teaches the reason most small businesses fail is that they are run by a technician, someone who knows how to do the work but doesn’t understand how to be an entrepreneur or a manager. An owner should have all of these traits, but must know when to take on the role of each. It is critical that for no extended period of time can the owner get stuck in one role.

  • The technician is an expert in his/her craft (a Project Manager, Estimator, Superintendent, Water Tech, etc.). This often leads these people to go into business for themselves – they’re good at what they do, and they know it; so why not reap the rewards of their labor? The technician is happiest doing the work they are good at and ignoring the rest, which is in the end, a recipe for failure.
  • The entrepreneur is the dreamer, the one who sets out to do something new, who reaches for the stars. The entrepreneur lives in the future, thinking about what could be (rather than in the present). The entrepreneur is often frustrated by how slow the world seems to move.
  • The manager is the detail-oriented one, who dots the i’s and crosses the t’s, the one who remembers to pay the bills, and wants a well-organized world without surprises, a world where things happen in an orderly, predictable manner.

All of these components are necessary in the founder of a business: without the entrepreneur, you might as well keep working for someone else as a technician. Without any technical ability, the entrepreneur must rely on others to get anything done, and without the organizational abilities of the manager, the other two would probably find themselves without power in the company because they had other things to do than pay the bills.

If the business is to thrive, it must move beyond the founder: a business that is wholly dependent on the founder and their abilities is not really a business, but rather a very burdensome job for the founder. Every time you are out sick or take a vacation or are otherwise absent, the business stops too.

A real business is one where the founder has created a system so that the business can run itself without their constant presence, and where he/she spends their time observing and managing the performance of their team within those systems. In fact, data shows that the most profitable owners take over three weeks of vacation per year!

So the question now becomes, what is the best system? Quite simply, the right way to run a business is to do just that – run it. Run it through managing people and systems. Meet with the team, design agreeable systems, and then ensure protocol is followed by observing and measuring. If this is done, it will allow an owner the luxury of being more of an owner and manager than getting dragged into the constant technician role.  And isn’t that what you envisioned when you had the crazy idea of starting your own restoration business?