The Closer You Are to Operations, The Poorer You Are!
I remember the first time I made the statement above to a group of people. The initial look on their faces suggested that they were first taken aback by the statement and then you could their faces reflect their slow acceptance of the statement as true.
When you listen to most solopreneurs talk about their business, you hear statements like, ‘I have to do it myself because it’s quite technical’ or ‘If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself’ or ‘They will do it when I am there but things go crazy when I turn my back’ etc.
Somewhere in their minds, solopreneurs and indeed some entrepreneurs think that doing the work themselves is what keeps their customers coming back. And while they may have a point, the truth is that the customer will always come back when value is delivered irrespective of who delivered it. Consider the fact that most of the things you use or buy are not literally made by the owner of the brand. For example, I doubt that Gucci personally makes all the bags that people buy, not to mention selling them personally. Yet, the brand keeps raking in money from multiple outlets across the world.
Think about it, the highest paid person in any organisation does the least amount of operational work. The highest paid person on any project does the least amount of day-to-day work. Why? Because organising people, thinking and strategizing about the future work is always more valuable than doing the actual work today. It’s the way our world is wired. The problem is that many people have allowed themselves to think they have to do everything themselves but the reality is that’s not necessary. As a matter of fact, I argue that that’s actually what is limiting your growth.
To grow therefore, business owners must grow to the point where they are able to engage other people to do the day to day work their business requires in order to free the business owner up for more strategy and brand building work. The guys in operations are critical to our business but they are only focused on what happens today. And since what happens today ends today, the manager who can see ahead to create the future will earn more than the fellow who only sees as far as today goes.
So how do you change the narrative? There are two features I recommend that every business must have if they are to build a business that’ll grow exponentially. First, the business must be designed in a way that’s replicable and second, the business must be financeable. As simple as these two features sound, they are very powerful.
Having a business model that’s replicable refers to the ability to take a business model to a different location and still be able to produce the same result while being financeable means the business owner is able to answer the question: how would you grow this business if I gave you a million dollars?
A business that is replicable is a business that can be scalable. Just like McDonalds, you must design your business model in such a way that it works independent of you. Imagine designing a car that requires the help of the manufacturer every time you have to start the car. That’s the way many people have designed their businesses today. The business can’t breathe without the input of the owner and just like the car, no one wants that kind of product.
Some businesses are difficult to fund. Generally speaking, relationship based business tend to be difficult to scale because it takes too long to build relationships in a new market. To scale a relationship based business therefore requires that you design the business model differently such that clients can still be attracted even if you don’t really know anyone.
Deji Agboade is a growth strategist at BPI Advisory, a consulting firm making it easier to grow and scale businesses in Africa. Check us out at bpiadvisory.com and on social media @dagboade or @bpi_advisory