Business Corner: Are You Self-Employed or Do You Have a Business?

Female Professional climbing blocks.

Are You Self-Employed or Do You Have a Business?

Who is the ultimate customer of your small business? When you think about it, the last customer for your business will be the person you sell the business to.

If you have a business that you can't sell to anyone... you are really self-employed. The business IS you. But if you have created something that someone can take over and has intrinsic value, you have a fortune. It may be a small fortune or a large one, but you have a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So, how do you create a business rather than just a job for yourself?

One of the best books on this subject is The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. The E stands for the "Entrepreneurial" myth. He describes what many employees go through when they decide they don't want to work for the 'idiot boss' anymore. They have an 'entrepreneurial seizure' and go to work for themselves. But without the concept of building something that someone else can take over, they plateau at being self-employed. And even if they make a good living, when they quit, they won't have anything else to show for their years of toil and sweat.

But, how to build a business? A lot has to do with systems. As you grow, the business needs to create systems that can be standardized and then replicated by someone other than yourself. All that knowledge that resides in the silo between your ears needs to find a home somewhere else and be documented so your people can use it.

Business systems have a number of advantages, including:

  1. Creating a valuable asset (as discussed above).

  2. Scalability and leverage. It enables growth in the business.

  3. Consistency. It make the quality of your product or service predictable.

  4. Lower labour costs. Lower value employees can do the same work.

Getting from KNOWING that this is the case to IMPLEMENTING can be a chasm. But having a "real" business can be extremely rewarding.