Friday, December 30, 2011

Stop Working In Your Business And Start Working On Your Business

Even though Truett Cathy is the icon of the chicken sandwich industry, I doubt he spends much time serving up waffle fries at the local Chick-Fil-A. Likewise, Fred Smith (founder of FedEx) does not run around town delivering packages.

Image: arztsamui /
What these men, and others have been able to do is evolve from the point where they simply work "in" their business and can work "on" their business.

And it doesn't matter if you are a franchise owner, an accountant, or a contractor, you can do the same thing in your business as well.

Let's look at the contractor - regardless if their specialty is plumbing, roofing, electrical, flooring, or any of a dozen other niches, how many of them have ever gone out of business because they lacked the "technical knowledge" on how to perform their chosen craft? I would venture to say that would be close to zero.

Now how many of those same contractors have gone out of business because they didn't know how to run a business? I would venture to say that number would be fairly large even though they were highly skilled at performing the technical and mechanical aspects of their chosen profession.

Don't get me wrong, as a contractor or any other type of professional, you need to know your skills and you need to know them as good or better than your competition.

But to succeed as a business owner your mindset has to shift. You have to be able to step back and take a look at the bigger picture. You have to think and act like a business owner, not just someone who is self-employed... there IS a difference.

The self-employed contractor prices their services to cover their costs and to "get by" whereas the business owner prices their services to not only cover their costs but to generate a profit that can be reinvested in the growth of the business while offering a fair and reasonable rate to their customers.

The self-employed contractor wants to be able to respond efficiently and effectively to customer service issues but is pulled in so many directions and wears so many hats that it is sometimes not possible. The business owner implements processes and procedures and hires or outsources personnel to handle customer service issues as they come up.

The self-employed contractor often doesn't understand how to market their business, or uses the wrong channels to do so. Meanwhile the business owner capitalizes on the best opportunities to get their name out to potential customers.

The self-employed contractor feels like he has to do every job himself or it won't get done right. The business owner looks for qualified people to handle the "technical" aspects of the project so that he can focus on more important areas and should only be physically involved with the project on an "as needed" basis.

The self-employed contractor may get frustrated with demanding customers who constantly change their minds or look over their shoulders. The business owner knows how to delicately handle clients of this nature and to guide them through the process to make it as easy on everyone as possible.

The self-employed contractor will likely stay a one-man show and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The business owner can appreciate the knowledge and expertise of these independent contractors and will oftentimes utilize them alongside their own employees to complete projects and grow their business even faster.

Regardless of the path you choose, I'll be pulling for you. In the end, we are all in this together. 

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