DO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS OR A JOB?
Michael Gerber is a business consulting "guru" whose
observations concerning small businesses have had a profound impact on how
his students see their businesses and their role as a business owner.
Gerber observed that most people go into business for
the wrong reason. They are skilled technicians. They do a good job of what
the business provides to the customer. They believe they can earn more by
doing it in their own business than for someone else. They leave and open
their own shop. This is what Gerber calls an "entrepreneurial seizure."
These technicians believe they will find more freedom
in their business but they discover it is the hardest job in the world.
There is no escape. They are the ones who are doing the work! They are
the "business!" But if they are the business, they haven't really
created a business at all. They have only created a job for themselves!
According to Gerber, the role of the owner is quite
different. The role of the business owner is to create a business that
works independently of him or herself. There is an "end point"
where the business functions independently of the owner. At this point, the
business owner may choose to sell it or not. By then, he or she will have
created a ready-to-sell "money making machine" and may choose whether to
devote effort to it or not. The business can also be duplicated from place
The model for this effort is the "turnkey franchise,"
such as McDonalds. The franchise creator, by establishing, documenting, and
testing detailed systems, Ray Kroc made a uniform business with a certain
look, providing a consistent experience to the customer. Ray controlled the
design of the restaurant, sold uniformly made food and equipment, and
provided the "scripts" for the service people. These scripts contained
detailed procedures for preparing the food.
Likewise, the business owner should start with an idea
of what this business should look like. This includes an organizational
chart that could start with the business owner in each box. The chart
documents the organization with responsibilities for chief executive,
marketing, accounting, finance, and production employees. Gradually, the
business owner tests, measures, and documents procedures for each position
then replaces them with others until he or she isn't needed at all.
The shorthand phrase for the business systems could be
"Here's how we do it here."
The business becomes a learning place where each
person finds satisfaction in performing their parts to the best of their
Small business owners should be grateful to Michael
Gerber for his profound observations and the challenge he has presented to
us. Each morning, we should ask ourselves: "Am I going to a business, or am
I going to a job?" If we are going to a job, we have Gerber's model for
Employees must think in order to provide outstanding
service. Gerber's approach can sometimes be inflexible when dealing with
changes we deal with today.
More important than "Here's how we do it here," we
need to know "What's important here." We need to define the values of our
business. People need to be more important than the systems that are
supposed to serve them. Systems shouldn't override common sense.
Questions or Comments:
Contact page us here
Return to Free Reports Home