The Multiple Personalities of the Business Owner

November 14, 2014

Behold, the triple personalities of every business owner!Meet Bob. Bob loves to make candles. He is always getting compliments on how beautiful they are and how wonderful they smell. A few years ago, Bob decided he would go into business making and selling candles. Why not make a little money off of something he loved doing? Now, Bob does not love to make candles. The thought of it makes him sick. He spends all day, every day, making candles and worrying about how he’s going to get by this month, and then next month.  Does this sound familiar? Perhaps I can enlighten you as to what may very well be going on here.

Did you know that every person who goes into business is actually three people in one? No? Well, allow me to introduce you to Bob’s selves!

Please meet The Entrepreneur. The Entrepreneur is the visionary, the dreamer, the one who sees opportunity behind every door. He craves change, ingenuity, and control over his vision. If you can’t see his vision, you are merely an obstacle between him and his dream becoming reality. The Entrepreneur lives in the future.

And here we have The Manager. The Manager is pragmatic, predictable, and sees the problems and mess behind every door. He craves order and organization. He cleans the mess left behind by The Entrepreneur and worries about the changes to his neat and logical life. If The Entrepreneur lives in the future, The Manager lives in the past.

And last, but not least, we have The Technician. The Technician is the doer, the tinkerer, the one who takes the door apart and puts it back together just to see how it works. He isn’t interested in thinking about the ideas or cleaning up the mess that goes along with them. If The Technician doesn’t do things, they won’t get done. If the Entrepreneur lives in the future and The Manager lives in the past, The Technician lives in the present.

Now that you have become acquainted with Bob’s three selves, why don’t we take a look at how they all get along? In an ideal world, each person would take care of their part: a third for The Entrepreneur, a third for The Manager, and a third for The Technician. The Entrepreneur could dream up tomorrow’s big plans; The Manager could make sure home base is sound; and The Technician could do all of the things that needed to be done.

Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case. According to Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited, “the typical small business owner is only 10 percent Entrepreneur, 20 percent Manager, and 70 percent Technician. The Entrepreneur wakes up with a vision. The Manager screams, ‘Oh, no!’ And while the two of them are battling it out, The Technician seizes the opportunity to go into business for himself.”

“How can I make myself get along with myself?” Bob may be asking. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Project your business vision one to three years out  – any longer is just a pipe dream – and make sure to share your vision with your partners and team members.
  • Don’t let yourself get caught up in analyses. Make decisions in a timely manner.
  • Think about and establish systems for your business. Specifically, your organizational system (that includes your people structure and culture) and your business system (this includes your procedures for how to get work done).

Interested in more in-depth details on how to make yourself get along with yourself and how to make your business a success? Next time, we’ll be talking about the “Franchise Prototype” and working on your business, not in it.


The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

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