27/04/2011

Read The Books But Nothing’s Changed? Putting The Theory Into Practice

By Robin Winnett, Chief Business Improvement Director, Kaizen Systems

I’ve been running Kaizen Systems for over ten years and in that time I’ve read a lot of business books. Many of the ideas have made a lot of sense – and yet nothing’s changed.

The first business book I read, probably about seven years ago, was The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. He talked about working ON your business rather than IN your business. As a technician, it resonated deeply with me and I vowed to take note.

Late last year, I was fortunate enough to go as a guest of our accountants, K&H, to see John Warrillow speak about his book Built to Sell. Basically, the same core subject matter as The E-Myth in a form that was more up to date and easier to digest: build a scalable business where the company will still thrive and prosper if you, as the business owner, were no longer involved.

The key message I gained from seeing John speak and from reading the book is that this approach gives the business owner options:

1. By making sure the business can thrive without you, you will earn a lot more if you decide to sell.

2. Or, you can continue to own the business and receive income from it.

With either option you are free from the business to explore other opportunities – it’s your choice what you do next.

Initially, it bothered me that, even though I had gone out of my way to educate and improve how I ran my business, and I thought I’d really tried to achieve what The E-Myth and Built To Sell told me to do, I still didn’t have a business that would work without me. Sound familiar to anyone?

As I’m sure we all recognise, knowing you have a problem is the first step to solving it and, with more resolve than ever, I decided to do just that.

Lots of soul-searching followed and then James Butler of Painless Business, a business coach I trust and respect, suggested that I participate in the Better Business Programme.

A key thing for me was the importance the programme places on the personal goals of the business owner, not only the business – a principle I already felt was very important when planning a business’s long-term strategy.

Clearly, this programme is not for everyone, and the organisers, Your Business Your Future, are quite selective as to the owner managers they accept – as every business should be when choosing their customers.

I can confidently say that participating in the programme has started the transformation for me and my business and I’m confident I am on the right path to working ON the business rather than IN it. I know there is a lot of hard work ahead, and I’m looking forward to it with renewed passion for my business because I know the work will pay off and is aligned to my personal goals.

There are many other reasons why this programme has worked for me – quality tutors, the format, the coaches and just spending a lot of time with other owner managers in a similar position with the same determination to make their businesses succeed.

And, the main reason can be summed up by this quote from Joel Barker mentioned by another participant on the programme:

- Vision without action is a dream

- Action without vision is simply passing the time

- Vision with action can change the world