More is Needed Before You Get too Comfortable!

The conflict for most small businesses…

    What the owner wants vs. what the business needs!

Michael Gerber – The Emyth

Much of what is recognized as a “small business” is a project started by someone who is looking for a way to earn
money via a recognized area of talent and passion. Someone may have the ability to make some aspect of art and
craft, for example; or he or she may be able to cook very well, etc.

This person goes into business and becomes excited by the prospect mainly because people see him or her making
the most wonderful product as indicated by current popular feedback from the circle of acquaintances.
This individual may be guided to go into business being assured by the model indicated
above – the typical entrepreneurial outlook.

The model suggested you should have uncommon passion for the area of “expertise” (along with talent in this area) then
have the resources (usually meaning money) and have a market opportunity- a ready market for the idea.
This is the classic case for self-employment in the sense of a one-man band. It has worked over the years and provided a
living for many.
The problem is that it is not the strategic way to build a business. By this I mean that it is not focused on innovation and
growth – the means by which a business will eventually free up the entrepreneur to have a life outside of the business
and, perhaps, to be able to take it to a level where it may be sold as a strong, dynamic, profitable going-concern.

The model says whenever your passion for an endeavor is coupled with the right resources of money to deal with costs and
expenses and you add to that the identification of a ready market you have a winning combination. The resulting overlapping
area is the desired area of operation – that “sweet spot” that optimizes the excitement, returns and initial growth.
After the initial growth however, there comes a period of reckoning. At the start, no one is concerned that there
is not a lot of marketing because “that will come”.

No one is concerned about the accounts because everyone knows the small business has to “rough it” for a while and
have little record-keeping. Salaries and benefits are low because everyone knows that the small business has little money.
The entrepreneur does most of the work because everyone knows that the small business has very little administrative work,
little money and has to concentrate and doing the production work to the standards that made him or her admired for the
quality of craftsmanship over the years.

Then taxes and returns begin to come due. The bank and suppliers want documentation reports and evidence of structure.
People start to sell their services to the entrepreneur, encouraging him or her to look at this and that market and marketing.
Then slick salespersons start to woo the operator, showing how much sales can be achieved with the buying into this or that system.
Then there is the need to get onto social media and other networking opportunities. They all seem so attractive, so enticing, so promising…

But how does one reconcile that nice graphical overlap of passion, resources and market opportunity? How may it all come together?
Depending on the matter at hand, the charisma or persuasiveness of the person selling some service to him or her, the entrepreneur may
buy in, especially if it suggests that the service being sold will prevent him or her from doing some of the unsavory aspects of entrepreneurship.

This situation can last for a long time, even in cycles, where the business person gets another loan, hires some promising new people over time,
change locations, change products, etc., in an attempt to become unstuck, but keep coming back to square one. He or she may even get
to the point of believing that being in business for a few years is an indication of success, even if they are losing their finances, time or peace of mind.

At this stage the person may consider that what he or she wants (or how it is being approached) is not in sync with what the business
needs for success. Hopefully that does not take too long to be recognized but this is the “unnatural” part of the start.
It is where the business needs help to start right and it is where the foundation may be laid for a more thorough consideration of
what will be needed – beyond passion, money and a perceived market opportunity.

The basis for success starts with an understanding that comes with appropriate mentoring and coaching.

This may be the most productive investment at start-up.

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