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Running a business is a transferable skill – that people don’t transfer often enough

Running a business creates a skill-set which is transferable, but rarely do we see people transfer these skills in to business no. 2 and business no. 3. What a waste!

We work with many owner-managed businesses and in each and every one of them the MD is a practitioner of something (recruitment, SEO, antique restoration) who has also learned how to run a business.

What have they had to learn?

  • Selling, competing, pricing
  • Hiring / firing, team-building
  • Marketing
  • Finance, balance sheets, credit control, cashflow
  • That the world doesn’t owe you a living

You can’t get this experience in a classroom, you can’t get it working for other people but, boy, is it valuable.

So why don’t people who have built up these skills transfer them into other businesses?

Don’t be a consultant, start another business

Of course you do see plenty of examples of knowledge transfer. People become consultants, non-exec directors, mentors, coaches. Call it what you will – it’s passing on experience. Nothing wrong with that.

But all too rarely do we see someone set up business no.2 and business no. 3 and this doesn’t make sense. The successful entrepreneur has done something very difficult in learning how to run a business, how to make money, all they have to do is to find another problem to solve and off they go. They already have most of the skills!

In the business, on the business – what about the next business

Most people have been admonished not to spend time working in the business, but instead to work on the business. It’s good advice (read the E Myth books if you haven’t). But the danger of working on the business, of standing back and thinking lovely blue-sky thoughts is that the business you are looking at is your current one.

Hire a manager for the first one. Think about the next one.

 

Why is it so rare for people to run several businesses? What does it take to kick-start the next one? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.

Michael
@diaryofanomb