Article written by Adam Rabinowitz (Chief Imaginator at Imagin8 and Chief Rocket Launcher at Trajectory Systems)
It’s devastating to see how many businesses have closed because of the ravages of COVID, but what you’re not seeing in the news is the impact of blissful ignorance on business closures. According to research done by Michael Gerber (The E-Myth), most small businesses close simply because of lack of management expertise.
I learned the value of knowledge years ago when I finally succumbed to the realisation that my business was failing because I must be doing something wrong. This was in about 2003. Two years later, armed with all the weighty knowledge I’d soaked up at Business School like a massive sponge dropped in the middle of the ocean, I improved my business cashflow by 1200% and became single minded about applying order to my business. Years later, I emerged with a highly stable operation that was able to deliver the same quality product reliably and consistently without putting me under pressure. In fact I was able to do more and work less.
With this in mind, I set about helping other business owners and ended up lecturing for University of Stellenbosch Executive Education to both entrepreneurs and middle managers in corporate. For those of you in business, you may be surprised to know that most managers in corporate are just as ill-prepared for their roles in management as many business owners feel about their role as leaders of their own organisations. The challenges they face are the same. The only difference is that in corporate you have a safety net. As a business owner, you’re on the high wire without one.
It takes a long time to digest knowledge. You don’t just open a book and magically transform into a better manager. More to the point, opening a book won’t transform your business overnight. It takes a lot of work, trial and error, and above all, commitment to want to see the change. So what does the business owner who wants to see change do to turn their ship in the right direction when many business owners don’t even know what direction they need to turn to?
I tried to help business owners in two ways. Firstly, I wrote a book designed to help business owners access the critical lessons I learned without having to spend years in a classroom. “How to Create, Manage, Fix and Grow Your Business” offers bite-sized lessons you can access when you need to learn something about a particular problem you’re facing. Looking for the answer to a problem when you’re facing the problem is a far more effective way to learn in any case. Think of all the things you learned while you were last in a classroom, and how much of that knowledge you retained when the lessons and tests were over. But when you had to go find out something in order to solve a problem, chances are you remembered that information a whole lot better than the plethora of trigonometry theories you never understood in the first place. That’s the approach I used when putting all these lessons together in my book. (You can get it at most leading bookstores).
The second way I tried to help SME’s is far more practical. Most business owners hate admin. According to the E-Myth by Michael Gerber, a successful business is an exemplary model of order, but for most businesses, admin equals chaos, which means there is little order. Imagin8 has just released version 1.2 of SMExpert (www.smexpertapp.com), a cloud based app to help business owners manage their business. It’s not just another accounting system. It’s a Business Management System that will also help you manage your accounts. SMExpert has some simple to use features that provide some heavyweight functionality and benefits to both you and your customers, like a complex Strategy module to help business owners set and manage strategy, and a comprehensive Sales Orders management feature that helps you keep on top of your orders. You get an instant online store so you can manage your business from home and make your products available for your customers to purchase immediately. There’s lots more to the app to help business owners get on top of the one thing that seems to be weighing most entrepreneurs down – business management.
A little knowledge goes a long way.