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How do-it-yourself management can seriously screw up your business

In smaller businesses, owner-managed and family-run enterprises, “everybody” has to pitch in and do “everything” in order to keep the business alive and well. The guy who runs the business (business manager) also has to go and find new business (marketing manager), do the paperwork (admin manager), source the raw materials (purchasing manager), send invoices and chase payment (finance manager); he may need to deliver the finished goods to the customer (logistics manager), pick up some new print cartridges on the way back (office manager) and if he gets 2 minutes, he can fill up the coffee machine! And so on…

None of which tasks he may be qualified for, or be any good at, or enjoy doing but “has to” do because there’s no-one else to do it. He’s a manager by default. In fact, he’s several managers by default.

And/or it’s probable his wife does the accounts (after all, she manages the household budget, so managing the business accounts can’t be that much of a stretch… can it?), the brother-in-law does some of the the hands-on and his son has just left college knowing his dad will “take care” of him for a job in the family business.

This is the way things are… the day to day reality… for scores of small and family-run enterprises. The people at the heart of the enterprise have to double up – treble up – on the roles they take on… whether they want to or not… because there’s “no-one” else to do it. They may be fully aware of their shortfalls of knowledge, skill, ability and experience in these management roles but this is how it is: this is what happens when someone decides to go into business for themselves because there’s something they enjoy (love?) doing, that they’re good at, that they have a talent or a skill or a passion for, or it’s something they’ve always dreamed of doing… and they reckon that people will pay them for doing it and that they can earn a living from doing what they enjoy doing.

The irony is that the more successful they become, the more their success takes them away from doing what they enjoy doing and are good at, by imposing on them all the “other stuff” that a business requires –like marketing, selling, customer contact, finances, premises, transport. IT, admin etc, etc.  All of which will need managing!


P.S. If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy our Linked In post:

Sex, drugs and… double-entry book-keeping!?


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