Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Is Your Business Heading In The Right Direction? Answer This Question

I had an interesting conversation the other day about the words entrepreneur and small-business owner? What do they mean? Are they both different creatures?

I think they are one in the same, but I seem to be in the minority on that point. Even if they are a bit different, there isn't much of a difference. Either way, let's not get caught up in semantics. If you really want to categorize business owners, there's only one question to ask:

If you (the business owner, entrepreneur or whatever you call yourself) are hit by a bus tomorrow and (God forbid) are no longer with us, is your company still going to be open for business Monday morning?

If you answered yes, congratulations. You are building a business. (You actually read the E-Myth and got it.)

If you answered no, you have a job, not a business.

Now, there is nothing wrong with owning a job. In fact, there are many advantages (pay, time, flexibility). And, it is not easy by any stretch of the imagination (sometimes more difficult than being CEO of a larger company). However, you're not building anything for the future. You haven't developed a concept that can stand on its own. You haven't created such raving fans that, even without you, still need what you provide.

Entrepreneur or small-business owner? Tomato or tomato!

Will your business survive without you? That's the real question.

--Ron Ameln, SBM

Are You Playing The Prevent Defense With Your Company

There is a certain defensive strategy in football and it is called the "Prevent Defense." What is it? Well, if your team is up by a touchdown or more late in the game, your coach might call for the prevent defense. Basically, it is a less aggressive defense that allows the other team to drive down the field but hopefully keeps them from having any big plays. Former coach and television analyst John Madden isn't a big fan. He's always believed using this strategy "prevents your team from winning."
I thought of the prevent defense yesterday when I read a stat that said 80% of small firms are waiting out the economy before hiring or expanding. That sounds a lot like the prevent defense.
My question is, why? In talking over the years to the area's top entrepreneurs, I'm convinced that a company should always be in growth mode, looking for new opportunities and constantly striving for more profits. Wait and these opportunities will pass you by.
Take Tom Schlafly, for example. Schlafly began Schlafly Beer in the back yard of the world's largest brewer. During his path in building the company, he never looked back, never stopped because of the economy, never diverted from his growth plan. He knew his opportunities would come from his own aggressiveness.
Today Schlafly's business is thriving. And guess what, he hasn't stopped striving for more success.
John Madden might be correct, the prevent defense might prevent you from succeeding.
--Ron Ameln, SBM