The Entrepreneur, The Manager and The Technician

Most owners of small businesses work long hours on the day to day tasks of their business – making sales, doing work for clients and dealing with administration. Is there time in the day to be an entrepreneur?

In The E-Myth, Michael Gerber suggested that there are three roles in any small business: entrepreneur, manager and technician. All three are needed, but often there is too little entrepreneur or manager work carried out. That’s why most small businesses struggle or fail.

Though many of us would have our own definitions of a manager and an entrepreneur, let’s start by looking at what Gerber had in mind.

For a start, the three roles do not necessarily mean that there are three members of staff. In the case of a sole trader, one person will be performing all the roles. In a fifty strong organization, there might be one entrepreneur, five managers and 44 technicians.

The job of the entrepreneur is to think about three main ideas:

  • Where the business should be heading long term
  • The principles by which it will operate
  • How it is going to position and differentiate itself in the market

The job of the manager is to translate those ideas into a practical implementation plan. So this is an organizing role.

The job of the technician is to carry out all the day to day tasks of the business by following the standard procedures laid down by the manager. Without the technician there would be no sales generated, and no work carried out for clients.

This entrepreneur / manager / technician categorization can also be a useful way of looking at your role as a BNI member. Here are some suggestions about how you can apply it getting the best return on your investment in 2013.

Entrepreneur – thinking

  • What do you want from your BNI membership in 2013?
  • How do businesses of your type in other Chapters derive most benefit from BNI?
  • What type of referrals do you most want to receive this year?

Manager – organizing

  • Which existing BNI procedures (eg 60 seconds) are going to form the basis of your strategy?
  • What new strategies of your own do you want to implement?
  • How are you going to monitor your performance in 2013?

Technician – doing

  • How much time will you need to spend on BNI between meetings?
  • How will you schedule this ‘BNI time’ into your working week?
  • How will you remind yourself week by week of your ‘BNI strategy’ for the year?

The main value of ideas like these is to use them to escape the normal routines we all tend to follow. Without new thinking, we tend to do the same this month as we did last month – even if that didn’t work too well!

So, if you want better results from BNI – or any other aspect of your business – put on the entrepreneur’s hat, sit back and think. Thinking, according to Gerber, is the most valuable task any business owner can do.

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