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What Do High Growth Businesses Do Differently?

Over the past 5 years the importance of the “High Growth Business” and how this relatively small group of businesses disproportionally impa...

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Do you want a Business or a Job?

This may seem an odd sort of question to ask someone who’s looking to start up a new business but it is a very important question. This isn’t so much about working on the business or in the business as about understanding that a business has a life of its own and a job is about providing yourself with income. Businesses tend to start in two ways, either as a result of being made redundant or because you think you can do it better than your current employers. Now this is no bad thing and this burst of entrepreneurship is vital to get the business of the ground. However to really create a business rather than a job for yourself one needs to develop the business as a separate entity from you the new and proud owner.

The problem arises because this vision that you had when you started the business tens to quickly disappear in the day to day grind of running a business and because you focus on yourself to do it right you start to build a business around the way you think and do things. No harm in that you say, well actually there is because all processes are customised around you, and because you are often over-qualified for many of the tasks you perform you are doomed to expect your employees to do it as well and with the same level of commitment. You have made yourself indispensable because of course they won’t. In doing so you are killing your business and giving yourself a job instead.

So if you want a business you have to create it such that it is not reliant on you, it must have strong repeatable processes that can be understood and followed by your employees and cover every aspect of your business, that way you can concentrate on making the business work rather concentrating on what the business makes. On the other hand if you want a job......


  1. I don't think it's an odd question, Laurence - I think it's important that new business owners consider what they are trading a secure, 9-5 for.

    Running a business is not easy for anyone, there's so much non-billable admin that eats up the hours in the day like accounts, new business, fixing IT issues etc. As much as we'd like to be sat on a beach drinking martini, it's just not the reality.

    That's why I think establishing processes is really important to maintaining your sanity; simple jobs that are easy to do even when you don't feel like doing them.

  2. I agree with the commentator above. My first graduate job was helping to start up a new business. Small tasks take up a surprisingly long time to accommplish.

  3. laurence ainsworth12 September 2011 at 16:15

    Hi thanks for your comment,
    Yes, its the non fee earning/sales work that you need to strictly control otherwise its starts to impact the rest of the business or it gets done poorly and the mistakes cost you down the line