Things to note before getting started with a small business

Everybody nowadays wants to be an entrepreneur. We all want to quit our jobs and become self-employed. Unfortunately, no one wants to do the necessary work and face the challenges involved in any startup. Your business is a distinct reflection of who you are.  If your thinking is sloppy, your business will be sloppy. If you are disorganized, your business will be disorganized. The same applies to your team. If you are greedy, your employees will be greedy, giving you less and less of themselves and always asking for more. So, if your business is to change – you must change first.

Here are a few things to note before starting a business in Kenya and just about everywhere else. All the lessons are derived from an amazing book called the “E-Myth”.

Entrepreneurial seizure

This is the trigger or rather the reason one decides that they need to start a business.

List of common questions to ask yourself to know whether you are bound to be an entrepreneur

  • Where were you before you started the business?
  • What triggered the idea of starting a small business?
  • Where are you now in your career?
  • Are you working for someone?
  • Why do you want to quit and start a business?
  • Do you have the skills?

The fatal assumption small business assumption

If you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.

To the technician who suffers from the entrepreneurial seizure. The business is not a business but a place to go to work.

The technician who is suffering from the entrepreneurial seizure takes the work he loves to do and turns it into a job.

Personalities in a small business startup

In a person, there are many different personalities fighting for control. In the same way, everyone who goes into business is three in one – the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur.

All of them want to be a boss and no one wants to have a boss. And so, they start a business to get rid of the boss. Below are the characteristics of the three personalities in a business.

The entrepreneur

  • They are the visionary and the dreamer.
  • Entrepreneur craves for control.
  • They are the energy behind every human activity.
  • An entrepreneur is an image that sparks the fire of the future.
  • The entrepreneur lives in the future.
  • To the entrepreneur, most people are problems that get in the way of their dreams.

The Manager

Without the manager, there would be no planning, no order, and no predictability.

  • Managers live in the past.
  • The manager craves order.
  • A manager clings for status quo and sees problems in events.

The Technician

  • The technician is the doer.
  • They say, “If you want it done right, do it yourself”.
  • To a technician, things are not to be dreamed about; they are supposed to be done.
  • A technician is not interested in the ideas he is interested in “how to do it”.

We all have the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician inside us. And if they are equally balanced we would be describing an incredibly competent individual.

Unfortunately, today, most people who go into business are 10% entrepreneur 20% manager and 70% technician. The entrepreneur wakes up with a vision, the manager screams oh no!” and while the two are battling out, the technician seizes the opportunity to go into the business for himself.

To the technician, it’s a dream come true. The boss is dead. But to the business, it’s a disaster, because the wrong person is at the helm. The technician is in charge.

Stages of a Small Business

Infancy (Technician’s phase)

Most businesses are operated according to what the owner wants as opposed to what the business needs.

A technician who runs a company wants a place to go to work, free to do what he wants, when he wants, free from the constraints of working for the Boss.

It is easy to spot a business at the infancy stage. The owner and the businesses are one and the same thing. It’s probably even named after the owner.

If you want to work in a business, get a job in somebody’s else business! But don’t go to work on your own.

If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business – you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world. Because you are working for a lunatic!

The purpose of going into a business is to get free of a job so you can create jobs for other people.

If all you want from a business of your own is the opportunity to do what you did before you started your business, get paid more for it, and have the freedom to come and go, your greed, your self-indulgence will eventually consume both you and your business.

Adolescence (Getting some help – Manager Stage)

You seek help from someone who can do the technical work that is not getting done – usually the work you don’t like to do.

You become a manager and the technician in you goes to sleep since you have hired someone to do the job.

It’s management by arbitration rather than delegation.

Don’t trust anybody with your business.

No one is willing to work as hard as you work.

No one has your judgment, or your ability, or your desire or your interest.

If it is going to be done right, you’re the one who is going to have to do it.

Beyond comfort zone

The technician’s boundary is defined by how much he can do himself.

The manager’s boundary is defined by how many technicians he can supervise effectively.

Entrepreneur’s boundary is a function of how many managers he can engage in the pursuit of his vision.

The technician needs to know what he is doing and why he is doing it. The result he is accountable for and the standards against which his work is being evaluated.

Maturity and the Entrepreneurial perspective

Great companies didn’t end up as a mature business. They started that way.

Unless you begin to act the way, you want your business to look like when it’s done from the beginning, you will never get there.

Entrepreneur vs technician perspective

  • Entrepreneurs believe that the business is the product.
  • To the technician, the product is what he delivers to the customer.
  • Entrepreneurs know that the customer is always an opportunity. –  wants to be satisfied.
  • To the technician, the customer is always a problem. Because the customer never seems to want what the technician has to offer at the price which he offers.
  • An entrepreneur asks, “How must the business work”?
  • Technician asks,” What work has to be done”?
  • An entrepreneur sees a business as a system for producing outside results – for the customer – resulting in profits.
  • Technician sees the business as a place in which people work to produce inside results – for the technician – producing income.
  • The entrepreneur surveys the world and asks, “Where is the opportunity”?

Having identified it he goes back to the drawing board and constructs a solution to the frustrations he finds among a certain group of people. A solution in form of a business that acts and looks in a specific way.

Start with the picture of the customer to who the business is to be created. Do not focus on the things to sell but who to sell them to.

List of things to do to develop a successful business

  • Ask yourself each day how well you did to achieve the dream discover the disparity between where you are and where you had committed yourself to be and at the start the following day, set out to make up for the difference.
  • Make each day a business development not doing business.
  • Each step of the business development should be measurable, if not quantitatively, at least, qualitatively.
  • Have a clear and recognizable form. A way of doing things. Articulated rules and principles.
  • The business should have a connection between where it is now and where it is going.
  • Create a business prototype where everything else is based on.
  • Start a system based business. One that is not part of you. It has its own rules and purposes.
  • Innovate
  • Quantify the results of your innovation. Put it in numbers all the time.
  • Orchestrate. Be predictable

Conclusion

All the tips are derived from one of the best small business starting guide in history (The E-myth). Get a copy and learn the invariable lessons.