One of my favorite books is The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. The book and now the “movement” discuss the myth associated with being an entrepreneur. Or another way of putting it is the false beliefs one has before going into business.
Most people striking out “on their own” are doing so because, for one thing, they are very good technicians. That is to say they are very good at the skills needed to do the job associated with their particular business. Perhaps they are a cook or restaurant manager who has been in the food industry for some time and decides they want their own restaurant. Or they could be a plumber who decides he (or she) has had enough of working for someone else and wants to have their own business.
What the E-Myth talks about is all the surprises in store for that fresh new business person. Once in business there are a number of responsibilities that have nothing to do with the core skills required by the technician. There is book keeping, accounting, marketing, sales, human resource management etc. and these things don’t even touch the executive responsibilities of things like strategic planning and business planning.
I have delivered many presentations on this subject and the focus of each of these presentations is that the entrepreneur does not have to possess all of these skills. Indeed one of the secrets to success is recognizing which of these are not your strengths and then having the discipline not to do those particular tasks. You see it is not the responsibility of the entrepreneur to have all these skills and perform all these functions. What is their responsibility is to assure that each of these necessary tasks are being done and with the appropriate skill. This is where staff comes in. Each of these areas of expertise can be bought i.e. you can hire someone to do these things for you. Some of you are going to be saying “but I can’t afford to hire a full time person just to do my books or my marketing” or what ever skills you need just a little bit of. In this case, rent the skill. This means contract the work out. Get someone with the right skills to do just the amount you need done. Renting is often preferable to buying in many task areas and this is especially true of a new growing company.