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Key Distinctions for Entrepreneurs to Get

Work on business versus work in business
This is Michael Gerber’s distinction (from The E-Myth). Basically, it means that entrepreneurs are wise to not just work in their business, but that the real money and success comes from working on their business. They’re working in their business when they’re thinking like an employee, doing tasks that they can do but that others should be doing, being busy bees, working really hard, etc. They’re working on their business when they orchestrate the work of others, or when they step back (frequently, perhaps weekly) and get yet another helicopter view of where they’re heading and what else they should be noticing. Of course, some entrepreneurs work so much on their business that they never make it successful because they’re not in the trenches, which is often where the fun and enlightening stuff happens. Entrepreneurs need to work both on and in their business, but better on the side of on.

Reserves versus fully invested
Entrepreneurs tend to invest all they have into their ventures – money, time, energy, love, intellect, and people. They do this because they believe in their project so much that they want to marshal all possible resources and make it happen immediately. The trick when coaching an entrepreneur is to help them strengthen the usually atrophied muscle called “reserves”. The objective is for the entrepreneur to put only 20% or 70% of their resources into the current venture, deliberately holding back the rest because, entrepreneurs being entrepreneurs, it will surely be needed soon. Exercising this restraint is also a good discipline builder – it forces the entrepreneur to do more with less. The ultimate reward for understanding this distinction is that the entrepreneur operates from a place of reserves versus always being at the edge, fully invested. This is often a big change and not all entrepreneurs have an interest in doing it the easy way – they love the risk; it motivates them.

Lone ranger versus supported
A lone ranger is an entrepreneur who says things like: “No, that’s OK, I can handle it.” “No one can do it as well as I can do it.” “I appreciate the offer, but I’ll let you know if I need that.” The lone ranger has yet to learn the social skill of both including and leaning on others. This skill is important to learn because as more businesses become co-sourced (e.g. collaborative outsourcing), and the world becomes more connected, the synergy that comes from working together is what ends up being a key competitive advantage. Without it, business may slow down. That, plus it’s a lot more fun to be supported, like via a coach, than to have to push or rely only on oneself.

Responsible versus working hard
The Protestant ethic was “working hard equals being responsible”, “idleness is the devil’s workshop”. As we all become knowledge workers, we need to understand that our ability to think, create and attract relies on more than just effort or physical exertion. Often, being on vacation means you are truly working at your best; the ideas that occur while on vacation are usually the finest and most rewarding ones. The key is to understand that sometimes being the most responsible occurs when one is not working as hard as possible.

Vision versus goal
A vision is seen as possiblilty for others/the world. A goal is something that one sets out to achieve, either for oneself or others. A goal is about the person and accomplishing it. A vision is simply that – it often occurs versus being created. A vision pulls; usually one pushes oneself to reach a goal. A goal is usually something that’s an expression of ego. Both visions and goals are great. But if you work with your clients to clearly articulate their vision, the goals will create themselves and no one will need to do any pushing.

Pipeline of business versus pools
A pipeline of business (repeat or cross-sales) is usually more profitable than a pool of business (onetime sales). Think about the disposable razor. That’s a pipeline of business. The old strap razor or straightedge razor was a pool of business. Pipelines are often more fun and provide more of a consistent stream of income than do one-time sales.

Present versus future
Entrepreneurs often live in the future – the next idea, the next business, the next deal, and the next sale. This is good. However, if you can get them to be a bit more in the present, they’ll find more profit there than in the future: when and if the entrepreneur truly can hear what current customers are saying or not saying, they can easily create or improve products or services that will sell well immediately rather than thinking they have to create yet another something new.

Strategy versus tactics
A strategy is a longer-term approach taken to create an outcome. Tactics are usually shorter-term and fit “under” the strategy. For example, building a strong, positive reputation is a strategy that a newer coach may consider as a wise way to fill their practice. A list of 10 ways to increase one’s reputation means you now have a series of shorter term, immediately do-able goals or steps helping to implement the strategy. Both strategy and tactics are important to have. Usually entrepreneurs are strong on tactics and weak on strategy. Written plan versus mental plan The plan becomes clearer during the process of writing it down. Entrepreneurs often prefer mental plans, but as a coach you can do a great service by setting up a two to three hour special session where the job of the entrepreneur is to talk and create their plan and yours is to write down the highlights and help the client clearly articulate their strategy and tactics. The plan will often change in 24 hours, but it will usually change for the better because they have taken the time to talk it through.

Structure versus momentum
Structure is what you can provide for your clients – the weekly check in, the support when needed, the phone call, the reminder of goals, and the accountability when needed. Often, structure causes, accelerates and maintains momentum. Without structure, momentum often wanes, due to the law of entropy. The Coach, being one of the entrepreneur’s structures of success, is important because it helps keep them and their momentum going (although they rarely see this).

Would you like to learn more?

For more information about how you might benift from coaching contact Greg at (760) 930-9604

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