The View From My Window
Some time back, during a rush period, I was asked by the production supervisor at our printing company if I would visit and quality check a job that a new outside vendor was doing for us.
When I arrived, I was greeted with a friendly "Hello" from the owner, and given an impromptu tour of his company. He let me know immediately that he was "already familiar" with me and my business systems. "I know what you think about how business should be done," he smiled, like a card player, holding all aces.
“Philip, let me show you MY system," he said, and pointed to a large pane glass window he had purposely installed directly in front of his office desk to keep an eye on his production area.
From this view, he could watch everyone working out there "at any time," to make sure production was being performed to his satisfaction.
I was somewhat surprised when he said he didn’t need systems like the ones I prescribe—preferring, rather, to keep constant watch through his window so he could personally oversee every single job coming and going through his shop.
It was his turn to be surprised, when I commented that his was "a perfectly good system," and that I actually liked his window.
I have no problem with business owners who enjoy working IN their companies as production managers, or wearing a multitude of hats. I know many owners who have been happy and successful operating their businesses that way. In fact, my brother and one of my best friends operate their businesses in that same fashion, very effectively!
As for me, when I first opened my business in 1988 I, too, operated it with this hands-on-everything approach, and I was profitable—although NOT very happy.
Those like me, and other business owners we work with in our software company, are of a breed who doesn't particularly like working IN their business, with a job title, i.e. production manager, pressman, bookkeeper, sales person, quality control inspector, etc. Although I like the printing business immensely, my vision was to OWN a company that ran well—whether I was there or not.
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.