In my experience, I have seen many clients start their own businesses because they were frustrated with the company where they used to work. They believe that they have the knowledge to run a business much better than the people who are operating their current place of employment. After all, how hard could this be?
The Three Essential Roles
While this is probably true, the mistake these individuals make when they go off on their own is that they don’t understand that every successful business must have an infrastructure comprised of three (3) crucial roles. Michael E. Gerber, author of THE E-MYTH REVISITED, defines these key positions as:
- The Visionary;
- The Manager; and
- The Technician.
The Visionary, who’s usually the one who starts this new business, is the driving force behind the business, the person with the company’s big picture. Next, is the Manager, who is necessary for carrying out the strategies of the Visionary by developing and controlling the product distribution systems and overseeing the company’s operations. Whether your small business makes shoes or serves hamburgers, you need a manager to make sure systems are set up to get the work done.
Finally, the Technician is the player who’s in the trenches, producing the items your business sells to generate revenue. Moreover, it is the Technician who anchors the Visionary and the Manager, for without the Technician, the business has nothing to sell.
But just recognizing the Visionary/Manager/Technician components will not, in itself, allow your business to “move forward”. This is because in most instances, the aspiring business owner who decided to launch the new business is often a Technician at heart, with absolutely no idea how to manage the business and even less idea how to envision plans for its growth. This frustrated Technician turned entrepreneur, is not going to find any guidance from a traditional business plan.
Finding Qualified People to Fill the Roles and Build the Infrastructure
As a business owner, you might not feel you have the Visionary sense to invent successful marketing plans so that potential clients learn about your services. Or maybe you don’t think you’re capable of devising effective Manager systems to make sure your company’s products are both created and distributed as efficiently as possible.
So then, how do you, as a new business owner/Technician handle the role of a Visionary and Manager to “move forward”?
The answer is simple. Don’t try to perform functions for which you are not trained. Instead, find talented people to fulfill these important roles so that your business can move forward. And then, after you find these qualified people, require these individuals to each present you with a precise, comprehensive, step-by-step guide for building the marketing and management infrastructure of your business over a six month period. Then take these plans for your new marketing department and distribution department and combine them with your own Technician plan for how to create a system to manufacture and assemble the high quality product that you are going to sell. This will result in an integrated set of systems that will allow you to “move forward” with a solid infrastructure in place after only six months. Now that’s a real business plan!
Next week, I’ll concentrate on defining the content of each of these detailed infrastructure plans, so that each of the three essential role functions we’ve discussed can be fully integrated into your business in very specific, concrete ways. If, for example, you decided to venture into the retail industry, then items like high-quality retail shelving may be a prerequisite for you.
* The use of the information on this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship.