By Cambridge Who’s Who Lifetime Member and Contributing Author Douglas K. Hyer, President of Asset Advisory Services, Inc.
Many business owners are aware of their strengths (conscious competent), some are aware of their weaknesses (conscious incompetent) and others cannot identify the skills or talents that they lack that are needed to be successful in business (unconscious incompetent). The unconscious competent individual does not realize that he/she is good at what he/she does. Often we call these people “naturals.” This article helps to uncover the important, but often overlooked, areas of expertise that enable owners, entrepreneurs and executives to run successful businesses.
- Introduction: Why do entrepreneurs of small businesses feel that because they are super salespeople, brilliant finance professionals, efficient engineers or production people that they can become successful CEOs and run their own businesses? Why do the Small Business Administration statistics show that most small businesses fail within three years? The answer seems simple: very few individuals have the broad-based education, background, experience, technical skills, and finances to effectively manage a business.
Research indicates that it takes four major strengths in personality or character to run a successful business. The owner/boss/president must first be a successful technician. A technician is usually a great marketing guru, fantastic product maker, creative engineer and financial maven who is excellent at damage control and has an “I can do better than where I am” attitude. Often times, the technician is also disciplined, organized, detailed and compulsive. He/she needs movement, action, accomplishments, success and progress.
Somewhere along the way, the technician starts to feel that he/she can do it better, faster, more economically or with a new innovation or invention. Why stay where they are when they probably feel underappreciated anyway? The technician evolves into the entrepreneur who is the dreamer and future-oriented type of person. Change is the entrepreneur’s motto; the unknown is exciting and a challenge. Usually people get in his/her way. A spouse, banker, partner, accountant or co-worker does not or cannot see the future results of the entrepreneur’s efforts, invention, modification or dream. The entrepreneur will do whatever is needed to push the new concept, product, techniques and technology forward in spite of any obstacles; sometimes working 24/7 or to the point of almost abandoning his/her family.
Most businesses are not owned or run by the manager-type personality. This person’s job is to get it done today. He/she is a pragmatic, no-nonsense individual who maintains order and systems at any cost. The manager usually looks and acts like the bookkeeper, internal chief financial officer or accountant and seeks problems. The manager cleans up after the technician and tries to convince the entrepreneur that things are okay as they were. This area is usually the weakest link in the business chain, as many companies suffer from the lack of adequate and/or professional management. This link is usually last to be hired, as the entrepreneur feels that they have it under control anyway.
The last personality type is the salesperson. Without someone doing the marketing, sales and order generation, the technician would have nothing to work on or for. The entrepreneur would not be able to look ahead if there is no business to improve or foundation to build on. The manager would have nothing to manage were there not new customers, clients, patients or repeat business. So it is up to the sales/marketing personality to be the hunter and energy of the business. All types of business rely on someone to make this happen. Be it new orders, new markets, services and/or products, the sales personality is the dynamite’s fuse, the flashlight’s batteries or the water in the pipe.
Unless the business is reasonably well-staffed and has been around for a while, there are probably overlaps in job functions and personality types. Often, existing staff will be pushed to work on tasks or in areas where they do not have experience or training.
Ask yourself where you fit in these four types. Does your firm have a capable personality in each category? Which type do you lack and what can be done to remedy this? If you do not change directions by obtaining the necessary resources to succeed, you will get where you are going. Is that where you will want to be?
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- Background: There are numerous areas that every business owner needs to focus on to survive. The first is having a product or service that can be marketed and sold. The second is to utilize labor, management and capital in an efficient manner...
- Concerns: Here is a list of legitimate problem areas that most small- to medium-sized, non-public companies need to review, a few of which may become new areas of interest for some senior executives/owners...
- Summary: By retaining a Corporate Financial Planner, the overworked, time-pressured, spread-too-thin executive/owner can leverage his/her talents and resources by having a dispassionate advisor or “hired gun” to help and evaluate accounting, legal matters, insurance and retirement options, employment agencies, travel agents, credit card providers, etc. For the fraction of the cost of a full-time accountant or clerk, a Corporate Financial Planner can provide a service for the business owner that will quickly flow to the bottom line of profits. Before hiring one, check their credentials, education and experience. Request confirmation of their skills and prior success with other satisfied clients. This new type of CFP (Corporate Financial Planner) may be much more valuable to the business owner than a personal CFP (Certified Financial Planner), CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or (ChFC) Chartered Financial Consultant. Remember, what you do not know may hurt you and your business.
Douglas K. Hyer, Financial Advisor, Consultant and Professor
AEP, BCAA, CAS, CEA, CFS, ChFC, CLTC, CLU, CSA, MSFS, RFC
Asset Advisory Services, Inc. (Since 1978)
Great Neck, NY ~ New York City ~ Miami, FL
“We ask the great questions you don’t even think of.”
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Great Neck, NY 11023