What Business Are You In?
A couple of years ago I met with a young couple who had a massage studio. The lady built her reputation as a wonderful massage therapist, attracting high profile, loyal clients. So she decided to expand her business. When I met with them they were leasing a beautiful building in a high-rent part of their town. She had brought on three new therapists who handled all the massages – while she scheduled the appointments, paid the bills and ordered the office supplies. Unfortunately, most of her clients had disappeared, she was frustrated with the lack of dedication of her therapists and her passion for her business was gone. Her husband had quit his job to help in the business and together they had blown through $65,000 that was loaned to them by family members to expand their “dream.” When I sat down with them they were absolutely broke, disillusioned with their dream and feeling trapped by what they had created.
This is a too-frequent scenario. In building her business, this lady had left the one thing that she was known for – great massages. She had “demoted” herself from a $75/hour respected therapist to a $10 office worker. As massage is much a relationship transaction, her former clients elected to move on rather than just receiving a hired service from an employee.
Often in building a business, we see the temptation to move away from the core concept that initiated having a business. In The E-Myth, Michael Gerber describes this tendency to get trapped in handling details rather than maintaining the essential functions. What about your business? Have you gotten bogged down in ordering paper clips, doing the accounting and cleaning the windows? Have you allowed yourself to be distracted by the seemingly urgent details? Could you delegate some of those details to someone else, thus freeing up your time to focus on your 2 or 3 highest areas of competence?
Don’t let the “growth” of your business take you away from your most valuable skills. Remember what business you are in.
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