I once went to a seminar where the presenter was Michael Gerber who wrote the ‘E-Myth’. (The ‘E-Myth stands for the ‘Entrepreneurial Myth’ and it is a great book that everyone starting a business should read.)
Anyway, at the morning tea break, Michael said to the audience something like: “I want you to go out now and ring your office and tell them you will not be back for a month.” It was a number of years ago and I can’t remember the timeframe exactly, but I can vividly remember the point he was trying to make. It was this:
The ‘business’ of most small business owners is so highly dependent on them, that they have to be there for the business to survive. Not only can they not afford to take a vacation from business, they can’t afford to even take a few days off.
Does this ring true for you?
That why I recommend you read ‘The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It’ by Michael Gerber.
Some of the key messages that I recall from Michael’s teaching are:
Most small business owners work ‘in’ the business and not ‘on’ the business. For example, a masseur starts a massage business, a chef starts a restaurant, an accountant starts an accounting practice and so on.
The thing they all have in common is that a person with the technical expertise of doing the work, starts a business doing that type of work.
But knowing how to do the work of a business, has nothing to do with creating a business that works.
So what often tends to happen is that the owner gets so ingrained with doing the work, that the business totally revolves around him or her and there is never any respite.
So how do you change this so you can take a vacation?
Gerber’s message is that you need to work ‘on’ your business. In other words, you need to work on things that make your business effective and free you up from the day-to-day grind.
He suggests that you develop an organization chart where you list the various functions required in your business. You may well be the person who is doing those functions at the moment but your objective should be to replace yourself over time.
He also talks about developing systems and uses the example of McDonalds because it has systems that allow them to take untrained staff and get a predictable result because they follow the system.
He goes into a lot more detail about the type of systems and how to go about creating them.
I recommend you get a copy and read it, and if you start to implement the recommendations, you just might be able to take a vacation from business.