“I’m not a businessperson”, is what I hear business owners often say, yet they own a business and are often making a reasonable living. As the new year starts, business owners will be making new year’s resolutions about aiming to be more business like in the new year, yet 80% of them will fail to keep their new years resolution. What can be done to make this year different and make 2022 the year they feel they have become a successful businessperson?
If you Google the definition of a businessperson a range of definitions appear, this undoubtedly adds to the confusion as to what a businessperson is and if you can call yourself one.
1. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “someone who works in business, especially someone with an important position in a company or someone who owns a company” https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/businessperson
2. Dictionary.com defines it as “a person regularly employed in business, especially a white-collar worker, executive, or owner.” https://www.dictionary.com/browse/businessperson and
3. Definitions.net defines a businessperson as “someone involved in a particular undertaking of activities, commercial or industrial, for the purpose of generating revenue from a combination of human, financial, and physical capital.” https://www.definitions.net/definition/businessperson
It can be seen that the definitions are varied and describe people in different settings. Using some of the definitions, simply owning a business qualifies you as a businessperson. However, this is not a sufficiently robust or a satisfying definition for most owners of SME’s. In 1911, Fredrick Taylor used the metaphor of a well-oiled machine for a business. Today the expectation of business owners is that to be a “good” businessperson, they need the skills to make their business run like a well-oiled machine which can respond positively to market conditions.
The third definition of a businessperson describes what a businessperson does. It states the purpose of the role is to generate revenue by undertaking activities. Those activities may or may not be profit generating. To be a successful businessperson revenue must be both profitable and sustainable. For this to occur the activities undertaken will require an understanding of the position of your activities in the market and the efficient management of people, money, and equipment to carry out the activities.
With the focus on profit, businesspeople are sometimes regarded as having a non-compassionate approach to profit generation. But this is not a sustainable approach, profits usually arise from carrying out activities people are engaged with. The management of people requires empathy to allow them to achieve their best, so some of the best businesspeople are very people focused. Conversely, someone who can analyse the figures and happily detach themselves from the emotions of managing the business they founded, can also be a good businessperson. The take-a-way from this is that a business requires a variety of skills and behaviours to run like a well-oiled machine, and the “successful” businessperson will be proficient at identifying all the requirements, bringing them together and getting them to work in harmony.
So how is this achieved? The first step is to know what you want to achieve. Whilst it might seem a long way off, how you will exit the business will help crystalise your thoughts and from this a goal for the next 3-5 years can be set. With a 3 to 5 year time frame the skills required to carry out the activities which will return the best reward in the market can be identified. The skills fall into categories, development of the business strategy, marketing, people management, and financial controls. The broad categories can then be further broken down, to develop a chart with all the functions which need to be undertaken.
A businessperson will start with the ideal organisation chart and then appoint people to it or outsource the functions. It’s a process to be carried out without consideration for any existing staff or arrangements. The proposed organisation should then be financially modelled and tested with different assumptions. When the model works, and fits with your appetite for risk, the transition can begin. How you make the transition from the existing to the required status requires sensitivity as change is always emotive with some of the staff. Businesspeople’s behaviours are highlighted at times of change and carrying people with you will underpin the future success of the business.
The steps to become a successful businessperson can seem daunting. So, before you start it is worth engaging the help of someone who has been there before. It will speed up the process. Their experience will help avoid many of the pitfalls you will unexpectedly fall into if you have not run a business before. With help, in just a few hours you can have a plan for the next few months which will make the difference. By the time you enter 2023 you will be able to look back and say, “2022 was the year I became a businessperson”.
If you own a business and have ever said or thought “I’m not a businessperson”, and would like help, so that you can be confident running your business, then commit to getting in touch for a free confidential discussion about what help you need. I’ve helped many business owners gain the confidence they need to run their businesses. Using my experience and examples from the scars gained over many years, I have also cleared up the questions they have in their minds about the best way forward and saved them from falling into the traps along the way.
I look forward to hearing from you and providing a realistic plan to keeping your 2022 new year’s resolution.