Business owner or just self employed? (There is a HUGE difference!)

Often entrepreneurs think they are the owners of businesses, when in reality, they are merely self employed. They may be refugees from a situation they didn’t like such as a lousy boss. Or maybe they saw how in their capable hands an idea could be better delivered, so they went off and started a business to do just that. A noble intent, and that is what the free market is all about, after all.

But there is most definitely a difference between owning a business and just being self-employed. If the business can thrive without the owner having to be there all the time, that’s real business ownership and it’s a great spot to be in. If the “business” can’t easily run for any extended period of time without the person who owns it physically having to be working in the business, then they are actually just self-employed. They don’t have a business, they just have a job. A well-paying job, one would hope, but it’s far more like a job than true business ownership.

This is rather a sad realization that many entrepreneurs don’t like to make, but the good news is that it is very fixable! And the answer lies in the system! The entrepreneur must strive to build a business that is dependent not upon them, but upon a system! As author Michael Gerber said in The E-Myth Revisited, the enterprise should be process dependent, not people dependent.

Building a business like this is a lot easier said than done, but once that feat is accomplished, its value grows exponentially. Translation: It’s worth it! A business that is not dependent upon a person or a personality can be more easily replicated. A business that has systems in place can be expanded because others can be trained in its operation. And when a business can be easily understood, replicated, and run by others, it’s more marketable as an investment and thus is more easily sold to a willing buyer.

So the best thing an entrepreneur can do is realize that having a business that can function without them is the most valuable way they can secure their future, then get busy going about building that type of enterprise.

The system is the cause of bad quality, and since only management can change the system, they are 95% of the problem.” – W. Edwards Deming