Since becoming involved with the industry, I’ve seen many people become successful organizing consultants, but sadly, I’ve seen many others who started an organizing business only to shut it down after a few years, or even a few months. Sometimes there’s an unforeseen change in health or family situation, but often it’s because they lacked the skills required to effectively manage a business.
It makes sense that most professional organizers choose this line of work because they have a passion for organizing, and if you are someone else’s employee, that may be enough. However, the moment you decide to start your own organizing business, you assume managerial responsibilities, and unless your education and previous employment have prepared you for this role, you’re going to be facing challenges you never contemplated.
You are not alone in this. In his best-selling book, The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber refers to it as the Fatal Assumption. Here’s what he said about it:
… you fell victim to the most disastrous assumption anyone can make about going into business.
It is an assumption made by all technicians who go into business for themselves, one that charts the course of a business–from Grand Opening to Liquidation–the moment it is made.
That Fatal Assumption is: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.
And the reason it’s fatal is that it just isn’t true.
In fact, it’s the root cause of most small business failures!
The technical work of a business and a business that does that technical work are two totally different things!
But the technician who starts a business fails to see this.
According to BusinessSchoolEdge.com, there are 21 skills that are essential to succeed in business:
- Written Communication
- Social Networking (in the traditional sense, rather than using Twitter-Facebook-LinkedIn – though those are useful too!)
- Public Speaking
- Strategic Planning
- Project Planning
- Financial Planning
- Risk Planning
- Logistics Planning
- Time Management
- Meeting Management
- Systems Planning and Implementation
- Personal Productivity
- Problem Solving
- Connecting Ideas
- The ability to switch off and relax
Since March is Improve Management Skills Month, take some time to study this list and identify any areas where your skills are not as strong as they should be. I’ll be sharing some ideas and resources to address some of these skills throughout the month, so feel free to share your challenges in the Comments section or ask a question privately.
If one of the areas you need to work on is Time Management (admit it, even professional organizers struggle with this!), be sure to visit my other blog, From the Desk of Janet Barclay, every day next week, when Rodger Constandse, the owner of GoalsToAction.com and principal developer of the Achieve Planner software system, will be visiting to share some of his best time management strategies and to give away some of his products.