“Imagine buying a house in a beautiful nature but without running water. ´No problem, about a hundred meters away is a well from where you can carry water with a bucket. We have been doing that for years. Once you get used to it and accept it, it’s not a problem,´ says a neighbor.
“Since this solution is not exactly what you want for your vacation home, you do some investigation – and discover that one another neighbor is connected to a plumbing network that works perfectly! Your problem is solved. No carrying buckets, no worries about water.
“This situation is a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately, entrepreneurs often ´carry buckets of water´ instead of connecting to the water supply network. I am talking about a non-systematic approach to business. The most common reason for that is seeing everybody is doing it.”
The Surprising Reason Why Most Businesses Don’t Thrive… And Never Will
“When we start a business, our first goal is to get a busy schedule with clients or the store full of buyers. To immerse ourselves in work. The more work we have, the more money we will get, and the more successful we will be,” revealed Nick Grubisa, one of the most renowned business advisors from Slovenia.
“The other thing is, we take care of most activities personally. ´I will delegate some tasks later. But for now, I need business and I am pretty happy doing whatever it takes. I rather work than doing nothing and wait. When I don’t serve clients, I will call around or prepare promotional material. After all, I know my business best and nobody will do the tasks better than me,´ we say to ourselves… without even thinking about how this decision would affect business long-term.
“Doing that, entrepreneurs hope that this activity will, somehow, ´get upgraded´ by itself and end-up as a perfect business model. Unfortunately, it won’t. If you want specific, long-term results, you should set conditions–or foundations–correctly. There are no ´adaptable foundations´ with self-correcting function,” said Grubisa.
In his more than thirty years-long practice, he worked with many different businesses and in many industries, mainly on management and marketing issues. “I had an exclusive contract with the City of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, where the majority of businesses are concentrated. Every small business owner who contacted the business center and wanted advice regarding sales and marketing was directed to me. That way, I was forced to learn how different markets and industries work.”
After the huge success of his first book, he got in the situation to hand-pick clients. He chose five from the Top10 list. “This was a completely different experience. The focus was on something entirely else, management problems were diverse, and most of the time, I was working with the community within a community. There was not one decision-maker but many so the procedure was totally different. Besides, when you work with the business owner, his or her ´yes´ means ´all systems go´ and there is no turning back. I like that kind of thinking,” he admits.
A Non-Scalable Business Model…
What Nick Grubisa just described was, as he defines it, a non-scalable business model. Observing the growth of typical businesses, he noticed that very few entrepreneurs approach the situation strategically. Meaning, the way that allows them to personally work less while getting predictable, stable, and reliable growth.
“Entrepreneurs should start seeing themselves as supervisors on organizers from the beginning onward, even if they are highly-skilled and seemingly irreplaceable experts. One of the many reasons is the building of a habit. When we repeat performance over and over again, it becomes our second nature and sometimes even identity,” he stressed.
“And that is a pure mindset issue. Many people talk themselves into various beliefs that are just not true. But these beliefs affirm their comfort zone and unwillingness to change so they are handy. The easiest way to deny change is to believe that we are not capable of handling it. Or, we just say that we don’t feel good while thinking about the new path. Of course, this is normal. We don’t feel good when we need to disrupt our daily habits. But hey, life is not about feeling cozy all the time. Every significant change feels unfamiliar. Avoiding change means avoiding progress.”
The New Way of Doing Business
So, what is the right way to approach business processes? Grubisa: “You should be ready to delegate and/or outsource a lot of work. Systemizing and standardizing the activities is the key. That way, the activities will be predictable, always the same, and thus scalable.
“And by scalable I don’t mean forming ten more stores or offices. Even when you have two or three employees, you want them all performing the task the same way. Buyers will get the same quality of service every time and you will be able to supervise and handle operations easier. When you set clear directions that people must follow, the system serves as the maintainer and supervisor. And because activities are always the same, people gradually do them with unconscious competence, habitually. Your goal is to make these standardized activities easier, more joyful, and more rewarding than performing them in the previous, chaotic way. Here is the rule: whatever you tolerate in any way should be standardized. This is the path from chaos to predictability and order.
“If performance is not standardized, employees will do the job differently every time. The quality will depend on their mood, motivation, personal dedication, and similar. Besides, some of them would want to be creative and will add some additional activities while others will subtract as much as possible from the job description and look for shortcuts all the time. Actually, looking for shortcuts can become most important than doing business correctly for some of them.
“So they would need a person to overlook them. Or, you can develop a system that induces rules and overlooks an indefinite number of workers. You only need an overseer of the system and good feedback loops.”
Nick Grubisa, who is also an author of twelve best-selling books, thinks that this is the way to start and run businesses. Regardless of the size of the company and regardless of the owner’s feeling of irreplaceability.