I have been running a small business for more than a decade, and as such; I can tell you what works and what doesn’t. Statistically, 95% of small businesses fail within their first five years.
You see, the greatest mistake by many small business owners is assuming they can start a business because they have a skill. Let me explain…
If you are a technician, e.g. plumber, hairdresser, dentist etc., and you are good at what you do; suddenly, you have what Gerber describes as an “entrepreneurial seizure” and you start to think to yourself, “Why should I work for this idiot boss of mine? I’m good at what I do—I’ll start my own business.”
This is one of THE major mistakes made by most small business owners. They go from working for an idiot boss to becoming an idiot boss! Here is the key point—just because you’re good at the technical thing you do; doesn’t mean that you are good at the business of what you do.
So, going back to our example, a good plumber is not necessarily the best person to run a plumbing business. This is a vitally important distinction to note and is a key reason that most small businesses fail.
The owner of the business may have excellent technical skills but it’s his lack of business skills that causes his business to fail.
This is not meant to discourage people from starting their own businesses. However, you must resolve to become good at the business of what you do—not just the technical thing you do. A business can be an amazing vehicle for achieving financial freedom and personal fulfillment—but only for those who understand and master this vital distinction and figure out what they need to do to run a successful business.
If you’re good at the technical thing of what you do but not knowing exactly what to do on the business of what you do is familiar to you, then don’t worry, the whole point of this post is to take you from confusion to clarity—so you know exactly what to do to have business success.
Look at any profession where the stakes are high and you’ll see a well-thought-out plan being followed.
- Professionals never just wing it.
- Doctors follow a treatment plan.
- Airline pilots follow a flight plan.
- Soldiers follow a military operation plan.
How would you feel about engaging the services of any of the above professions where the practitioner says to you “screw the plan, I’ll just wing it.” Yet this is exactly what most business owners do.
Invariably when someone makes a mess of something it often becomes clear in the aftermath that they didn’t have a plan. Don’t let that be you and your business. While no one can guarantee your success, having a plan dramatically increases your probability of success.
Just like you wouldn’t want to be on a plane where the pilot hadn’t bothered with a flight plan, you don’t want you and your family relying on a business where you hadn’t bothered with a business plan. Often the stakes are almost as high. Marriages, partnerships, jobs and more are often the casualties of failed businesses.
It’s more than just your ego on the line; so, it’s time to “go pro” and create a plan.