If you’ve read Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited, you are familiar with his mantra of working on the business instead of in the business. Even financial leaders should be working on their departments, not just in them. But is that the right or full message?
My perspective is unique in that I work with many small business founders. Many are buried in the weeds of their businesses with seemingly no help in getting out. They love Gerber’s message, albeit unattainable in their minds.
Work On the Business So That …
It took me years to figure this out, but Michael’s message should be to work on your business so that you can work in the parts of your business that bring you happiness and fulfillment. Do so in such a way that other parts of the business never suffer.
There are pitfalls to my suggestion. If a CEO is plugged into the business primarily as a lead salesperson, for example, there can be negative consequences:
- Enterprise value can be compromised if the sales function is overly-dependent on the owner’s sales abilities
- Necessary sales training may go by the wayside
- Other parts of the business could suffer
All of the above is true. However, assuming the CEO is still periodically working on the business, the above should be mitigated by sound business practices.
In the example above, let’s limit what the successful owner who loves sales can do in that role. Just give him/her complicated or challenging sales prospects only. Other prospects go to other members of the sales team.
Remember, that founder-owner is good at one to two things. Please don’t take that away from him/her by only working on the business. They should do so, allowing them to leverage their gifts and talents where they are most needed.