BUSINESS PLANS

Your Business Can Be More Than Just a Job

Did you fantasize about the lifestyle you would have as an entrepreneur? Surprised it hasn't turned out that way? It's not too late to turn things around.
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Did you start your own business to have the freedom of being your own boss? Maybe you wanted to provide jobs for others. Did you fantasize about the lifestyle you would have as an entrepreneur?

And what has happened since? Maybe you provide a good living for yourself and your employees, but you work harder and longer than in any job you’ve ever had. Perhaps you feel trapped under the weight of being a “business owner.”

You don’t have to feel that way. You can provide money for yourself, jobs for others, and still have the freedom you hoped for. You just need to know how.

How do you turn your small business into more than just a job?

First, go to work on you business rather than in it.

Think of your business as something apart from yourself, as a world of its own, as a product of your efforts, as a machine designed to fulfill a very specific need, as a mechanism for giving you more life, as a system of interconnecting parts, as something created to satisfy your consumers’ needs, as a solution to somebody else’s problem.

Then ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How can I get my business to work, but without me?
  2. How can I get my people to work, but without my constant interference?
  3. How can I systematize my business in such a way that it could be replicated 5,000 times, so the 5,000th unit would run as smoothly as the first?
  4. How can I own my business, and still be free of it?
  5. How can I spend my time doing the work I love to do rather than the work I have to do?

If you ask yourself these questions, you’ll eventually come face-to-face with the real problem: that you don’t know the answers!

Until you change your perspective about what a business is and how one works, you will never have the answers. The most successful small businesses are built on a repeatable system that others can easily follow. A turn-key system.

The best way to systematize your business is to first do each job yourself. Find the best or preferred way to do each task, and create a system for doing it that way that is easy to follow. Repeat this process for every function of your business until every part is systematized.

Then create a succinct operations manual that is detailed and easy to understand. The goal is that any new person can step into your company, and be up-to-speed very quickly after reading this operations manual.

Once you have your business systematized, you should be able to step back and let your company function the way it is supposed to. Your job, as the business owner, will be to watch it grow.

IMAGE: Shutterstock
Last updated: Mar 9, 2012

MICHAEL E. GERBER | Columnist | Author of The E-Myth

Michael E. Gerber is a true legend in entrepreneurship, helping transform 70,000+ businesses in 145 countries over the past 25 years. Michael?s New York Times best-selling book, The E-Myth Revisited, has sold over 5,000,000 copies.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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