Here’s the latest book I’ve scooped off my To Read pile:
The E-Myth Revisited
Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
Michael E. Gerber
If you enjoyed reading Go It Alone, you’ll love this book too.
Quote from the introduction:
And what we have also discovered is that the people who own small businesses in this country work far more than they should for the return they’re getting.
Indeed, the problem is not that the owners of small businesses in this country don’t work; the problem is that they’re doing the wrong work.
The book starts with meeting small business owner Sarah from All About Pies (not real name). She’s doing all the baking, all the cleaning, serving the customers, doing the books, everything. And it’s not working. She’s a mess and her business is in a mess.
Right here the book grabbed me right by the throat, I couldn’t stop reading. Years ago I *was* Sarah with my small business. I knew she was one step away from a meltdown of epic proportions. Been there–done that–and it’s not fun ;).
Too many of us are Sarah. We’re the Technicians. Doing all the work ourselves and by doing so, we’re not building a thriving business. If we’re lucky we can maintain some level of profitability or even-out. We’re not growing though, and more likely we’re driving our business and/or ourselves into the ground.
The book talks about creating systems and putting them into place so that anyone can step in and do the job in exactly the way it needs to be done. Everything from the exact number of pickles to place on a burger and exactly where to place them.
Looking at my online work I can see I haven’t learned anything from my past. I’m still insisting on cheaping out and doing it all myself. I’m so smart and such a talented multi-tasker! But realistically, how can we hire out all the work so that we as the business owner can focus on what’s making money: building our business. Building traffic. Growing our sales volume.
It all sounds so wonderful! But who’s going to pay for this all? Staff costs money! Especially out in the real world where you have minimum wage costs, payroll benefits, vacation time, sick time, insurances, yada yada. It’s expensive to maintain a staff, especially if you see that you can carve out the time to do the work yourself.
The problem with this mindset that I see now is that by doing all the work yourself, you’re driving your business to nowheresville. If you’re cooking all the pies and mopping the floors and stocking the shelves and doing the books and serving the customers and cleaning the ovens and picking the fruit and rolling the dough and pouring the coffee … who’s out there marketing your business to generate the sales? Who’s building brand awareness? How is your business getting known? How are people going to find All About Pies so that they do stop in and pick up a fresh pie?
In essence: how is your business going to generate sales to generate cash flow? Who’s doing what needs to be done to create and grow sales? How will your business grow?
How does this translate to the work we do online? Ask yourself:
- Who’s creating your content
- Who’s designing your pages
- Who’s examining your traffic logs to see what’s hot and what’s not and who’s coming and from where
- Who’s maintaining your server
- Who’s doing the programming
- Who’s doing the copywriting
- Who’s looking for niches and examining keywords and net hotspots
- Who’s hunting for merchants and affiliate products to use
- Who’s doing the link building
- Who’s doing the article writing and submissions
- Who’s listening to your channel/niche to watch for what’s needed and what’s missing
- Who’s following the blogs, forums and newsletters to keep up with what’s happening in our work
- Who’s maintaining your list and list building efforts
And that’s just some of the tasks involved with our online work.
Next question is: If you had all the above taken care of and the vast majority of your time was spent marketing your sites and building a deep presence online…how much money would you be generating?
Tricky question for sure. Some channels can produce higher income levels than others. It’s something you have to quantify for yourself. If you know your site generates $500 a month in income right now, you know you can afford to spend $x to outsource all the work so that you can free up your time to get out there and hustle your buns to triple your traffic (to increase your sales) and bring targeted, hungry buyers to your sites.
How to triple your targeted traffic? If you know the answer to that, you’re golden :P.
We’re not stupid people. It’s just that sometimes we’re looking and focusing on what’s right in front of us rather than what’s off ahead just to the right. Pick up the book and your mind will be introduced to a thought process that may never have occurred to you before.
Ultimately: create a system that costs $xx to create and maintain so that you can focus your efforts on generating and pulling $xxx out of that system and continue to grow over time.