That’s a basic question Michael Gerber asks in his book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It.
For decades Legend Brands’ tech teams have talked with thousands of cleaning and restoration companies, many of which suffer initially from what Dr. Gerber calls the “Entrepreneurial Seizure” – the moment you decide it would be a great idea to start your own business.
Most large cleaning and/or restoration companies started out as small owner/operator businesses; many have succeeded and become large, established businesses, but sadly, many startups also fail.
These companies did not fail because they didn’t know how to clean carpets or to do remediation work correctly – they failed because they didn’t know how to run a successful business.
Many of these failed startups spent an incredible amount of both money and time perfecting their technical skills through training classes, as well as the school of hard knocks where the tuition is "free." But they spent very little time educating themselves on running the backside or office work needed to run a successful business.
In looking at companies that didn’t make it, some of the common issues appear to be caused by intra-company battles or other conflicts that often occur in small businesses.
When Gerber talks about these conflicts in his book, he describes them as a "battle among three different mindsets: technician, manager and entrepreneur." All three of these mindsets are found in every person that experienced entrepreneurial seizure, and all three have completely differing views on how to run a successful business:
“The technician is the doer.”
“If the Entrepreneur lives in the future and the Manager lives in the past, the Technician lives in the present. He loves the feel of things and the fact that things can get done.”
“The Manager is pragmatic. Without him, there would be no planning, no order, no predictability.”
“If the Entrepreneur lives in the future, the Manager lives in the past.”
“The Entrepreneur is the innovator, the grand strategist, the creator of new methods for penetrating or creating new markets.”
“The Entrepreneur lives in the future, never in the past, rarely in the present. He’s happiest when left free to construct images of ‘what-if’ and ‘if-when.’”
No doubt you can picture some of these conflicts in your own business and can relate to the three different points of view.
What’s the solution? Invest the same amount of time and effort “working on your business" as you do on the technical side.
Take some classes, read a book or get some outside help on managing a business, especially if the management and “office work” side is not easy for you. If you like to read, start with The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.
Remember that running the backside or office work part of you company is just as important, if not more important, than the technical side.