Transitioning from doing the work to being a business owner: there’s a lot to learn!
Hi, I’m Steve Johnsen, and today we’re going to talk about transitioning from doing the work in a business–from being a technician to being a business owner. There’s actually a lot to learn.
I’ll give you an example of somebody who worked for a roofer. He started out putting shingles on the roof and swinging a hammer and eventually worked his way up to where he was managing a crew?and then managing several crews. And he decided that he was going to go out on his own and start his own roofing company.
Well, suddenly you’ve got a very different job when you’re a business owner as opposed to when you were running and managing just the roofing work. As a business owner, you’re now responsible for marketing, you’re responsible for sales, you’re responsible for human resources–hiring people, payroll, etc. You’re responsible for pricing your services. You have to take care of insurance and taxes and even legal issues related to the business as well as managing the business’ cash flow and finances. There are a lot of areas that a business owner is responsible for that the technician is not. That’s why it can be a difficult transition to go from actually doing the work in the company to being a business owner with employees.
So how do you overcome this gap? Or how do you make this transition successfully?
First of all, you’re going to want to be learning a lot. The basics of what you need to know as a business owner include marketing, sales, recruiting and hiring, and HR issues. It includes financial management as well as various tax and insurance and legal issues. Those are all things that you need to have at least a basic understanding of. You can learn these things by reading good books. You can listen to podcasts. You can go to industry conferences and hang out with other business owners in your industry. You can participate in seminars or go to training programs.
Second, you can also hire good advice. You can get yourself a good small business CPA. You can find a good small business lawyer. You can hire in an outsourced CFO (that’s a Chief Financial Officer) that will help you with your cash flow planning and management. You can hire a good marketing agency. You can hire a sales coach, or someone who will help to train your sales reps. You can always find people that have skills that you don’t have to come in and help you with your business.
Steve Jobs is a good example of someone who learned how to do this. He started Apple computer and grew it to a certain point, and eventually he got kicked out of his own company because of the challenges he had in running his business. When he came back to Apple a few years later, he was responsible for Apple’s great resurrection.
One of the things that Steve Jobs had learned in that interim is that he can’t do what he can’t do. One of the really smart things he did was to hire Tim Cook to run the business part of the company while he was responsible for the visionary part of product development.
So, identify where your own skills are, and where your strengths are. Maybe there are some things about running the business that you’d like to learn, and some things about running the business that you really want to hire some good help in that area.