Just as the role of all parents is to guide their children to grow from infancy into adulthood - no matter how much we might want them to stay young and cute forever - the role of every entrepreneur is to lead her company through the growth process, from its own infancy to becoming a great, growing enterprise.

Every business, just like every child, is destined to grow.

Needs to grow.

Is determined to grow.

As your business grows, it naturally changes. And as it changes from a small business into something much bigger, you'll begin to feel out of control.

News flash: That's because you are out of control.

Your small - now growing - business has exceeded your know-how, sprinted right past you, and now it's taunting you to catch up.

That leaves you with two choices: 1) to grow as big as your business demands you grow; or 2) to hold your company at its present level, the level at which you feel the most comfortable.

The sad fact is that most small business owners do the latter. They try to keep their company small, securely within their comfort zone - doing what they know how to do, what they feel most comfortable doing.

Just doing it, doing it, doing it.

It's called playing it safe.

But as your company grows, the number, scale, and complexity of tasks will grow, too, until they threaten to become overwhelming.

You need more people, more space, more money.

Everything seems to be happening at the same time.

A hundred balls are in the air all at once.

In my landmark book, The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, I described this phenomenon as The E-Myth, which is to say, the myth of the entrepreneur. And the myth is this: Most people who start their own businesses are not entrepreneurs but, rather, they are technicians suffering from an entrepreneurial seizure.

And, as technicians, their philosophy of coping with workload, change and growth can be summarized as "just do it!"

"Just do it" the way they've always done it, but by working harder, faster or longer hours.

"Just do it" by hiring supposedly "experienced" people to do it, but who end up causing more problems than they solve.

Technicians "just do it."

Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, figure out how to get it done through other people by designing innovative systems that produce consistent results, and then teaching their employees how to use and continuously improve those systems.

Technicians work IN the business.

Entrepreneurs work ON the business.

The distinction is critical and profound.

Given that the inclination of most business owners is to be the master juggler in their companies, it's not surprising that as complexity increases, as work expands beyond their ability to do it, and as money becomes more elusive, they are just barely holding on, desperately juggling more and more balls.

In the end, most collapse under the strain.

You can't expect your company to stand still; you can't expect it to stay small.

A business that stays small and depends on you to do everything isn't a business at all - it's a job!

A parent doesn't do a child's work for him; that would stunt his growth, rather than foster it.

Likewise, an entrepreneur doesn't do the work of the business herself.

To grow your business, you must relinquish the comfort of the technician's role, and embrace the role of "entrepreneur" by working ON the business so that it realizes the great dream you had when you gave birth to it.

Are you ready?

Published on: Oct 27, 2016
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