What is one of the most over-rated abilities of a business owner? Technical expertise. That’s right, the ability to do the technical work of the business … paint a bedroom, repair a toilet, move a household, care for the elderly, write an insurance policy, clean a home or office, remodel a room, etc.
Why is having the talent to do such technical tasks not that special? Because millions of people can do those same technical tasks … and some even better than you! Being a successful and satisfied business owner is NOT about being a gifted technician. It’s about something much more strategic.
Please understand, technical expertise alone will never be sufficient enough for you to properly own, lead, grow and run a highly successful business that can work profitably and predictably without relying on you to do everything. Technical expertise doesn’t qualify you to run a business … it simply qualifies you to do the business.
Here’s another reason for not over-valuing your technical side. Technical talent and expertise are in high abundance and supply. Everyone on the planet who has a job has some level of technical competence. However, what is sorely lacking in most small business owners is leadership and marketing expertise … the skills and abilities to design, build and run the entire business, not simply complete technical tasks. Many owners are mistakenly “being the business” instead of “building the business”.
Here is some tough-love business coaching from your virtual Growth Coach. If you are a business owner and pride yourself on actually doing the technical nature of the business (fix the computer, paint the room, or cook the burger), you may well be a gifted professional or technician but please don’t delude yourself … you own a job, not a business. If you are trapped working in the technical trenches of your business on a daily basis (cleaning the carpets or cutting the grass), you are not functioning as a business owner, you are functioning as a doer.
And that’s perfectly OK when you start a business … but not forever! While most owners wear multiple hats and perform multiple tasks when they start a business, they need to give up the technical hats as the business grows and evolves so they are left wearing the critical leadership, marketing, and strategic hats. Owners need to hire, train and delegate to others to do the technical work of the business. Sadly, many owners never make this critical transformation from technical doer to strategic business leader. Their heads are buried under technical hats and their lives are buried in the business.
If you don’t mind wearing lots of hats, doing lots of tasks, and working predominantly “in” your business and very little “on” your business, that’s your call. You are free to decide. It’s your life and business. Just be sure you are making a conscious choice by design and not doing all the technical work by default. And just be prepared to accept the potential, unintended consequences from being a technician masquerading as an owner … being overworked, overwhelmed, and feeling like a prisoner to your business.
I realize there are always exceptions … IF, and I stress IF, you build tremendous leverage into your business model so that even you alone (with proper technology, products or group formats), can serve lots of clients at the same time, make lots of money, and live the fulfilling and flexible lifestyle you want. For example, Growth Coach franchise owners have such leverage because we utilize a proven, guaranteed group coaching workshop process to effectively coach multiple clients at the same time over multiple years … tremendous financial leverage. As a result, hiring employees is not required … it’s their call. And being a business owner is all about having MORE LIFE, MORE FREEDOM and MORE SUCCESS … whatever model you choose.
For others struggling with being a technician out of default, not by design, and lacking leverage, here are some business coaching tips to provide you with another way to think about your role. As an owner, your real job is to create technical jobs for others (painting, repair, selling, bookkeeping, customer service, administrative, etc.), not technical jobs for yourself. Your job is to be the leader of your business and establish the vision, model, direction, plans, goals, the systems (marketing, selling, operations, HR, etc.) and provide on-going accountability, to name a few priorities, so that others can efficiently and effectively do the technical, tactical and daily work of the business. Are you currently doing these?
If you simply see yourself as a technician (painter, senior care provider, mover, cleaner, etc.), you will have a very limited vision and mindset and restrict yourself to doing only those technical tasks. However, if you see yourself as an owner and marketer, you will have a much larger vision and mindset and do the right things to design and build the entire business, not just the technical components of the business.
For example, be the owner and marketer of a senior care business, don’t simply be one of the senior care providers. Be the owner and marketer of a painting business, don’t just be another one of the painters. In a pinch, OK, but not on a daily basis. You are the owner, not a technician.
Again, technical talent and expertise are vastly over-rated and in abundant supply. Don’t limit yourself to the masses of good technicians in the world. Instead, dare to be different and bigger. Discriminate on how you value and use your time … stay out of the technical trenches. Dare to have a larger mindset and see yourself as the owner and marketer of your business.
I needed to read this even though it’s a poke in the eye. I will say though that, I have had a hard time finding skilled painters. It seems no matter who I hire, or how much effort I put in to training an individual, they can’t do finish work. If they can, they’re too slow, or perhaps not diversified enough to be a foreman or expect to make mor4e than they’re worth. The result is that I have to stop running the business and do the business, always finishing the job myself. I’m selling a certain product and a certain look and if I could find someone that didn’t require babysitting or intense training, I’d be a happy business owner. For that reason, I disagree that technical talent and expertise are in high abundance and supply. It’s my experience that they are not. I, however would like to have a better experience. With no doubt though, the article above is being taken into advisment. 🙂
I agree with you wholeheartedly. If you are always busy doing other things (and technical issues never seem to end), you aren’t running the business. Successful businesses practice a very delegated system because it’s more efficient. And efficiency equals greater revenue. But I am struggling with how to apply this to the senior care business I am hoping to start soon. Do you have any advice on how to implement this kind of strategy?