There is a misconception that running a business is intuitive and easy. It is probably everything but that. No one is born with the skill for business. No one is blessed, from the start, with the knowledge of how to start, run or evolve a business. It is a skill that can be learned, adapted, improved upon, and advanced.
Running a business is the major pre-occupation of every entrepreneur. It involves the daily activities that make up your business at all levels. Some days it is shopping, other days it is selling, one day you are hiring and the next you are promoting or expanding, opening a new office, or buying new equipment. Running a business is the leadership side of entrepreneurship.
The management of resources to optimize output and reward is both an art and a science. The artistic side covers the creative things: problem solving, adapting to circumstances, knowing how to negotiate, creating a business plan, working through the long hours to bring your idea into reality. This is key in our country in particular as there are many impediments to the straight line from your idea to its ultimate fulfilment. The scientific side covers all the things you must learn to make your management more efficient: accounting, stock keeping, tax filings, grant writing, and a host of other skills.
Anyone who has attempted setting up or running any enterprise at all will know everything we have talked about so far, to some degree. This is not a beginner’s class. This is about improving. And to do that you need to think of the kind of manager your enterprise needs you to be.
If a business is not growing then it is merely surviving, one step away from declining. The Improving Manager is the most ideal for a growing business. The improving manager is one who is always seeking to grow, learning from mistakes, building the necessary skills to engender efficiency and always aware that there is much more to learn. And willing to keep learning on all levels.
The Perfection Manager is the least ideal manager for ideal growth. The focus is always on doing one task at a time and being perfect at that. This does not necessarily mean learning through failure. This kind of manager is more likely to be deterred by imperfect conditions and imperfect outcomes. They do not manage an actual business but the perfect idea of the enterprise they are pursuing.
It goes without saying the former is the ideal. But it is often difficult to balance your passion for creating a business that you can be proud of with a venture that is gradually improving through small steps aimed towards a larger goal.
Improving means putting yourself through the daily task of getting better at all things concerning your business. It’s about learning through your failures and managing large tasks better. It is about harnessing the skills necessary to solve your business’ problem, grow your venture, and make it a resilient enterprise. It is about knowing when to push forward and when to hold back. And when you are starting small, it is about learning how to self-manage in anticipation of someday managing your team.