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Small Business Development Class

Monday, May 15, 2006

I am taking this class through PCC on how to take your business to the next level. Several people in the community have recommended it to me and with all my HR problems, paperwork, and trying to scrape up enough to do tradeshows again I decided it was time I took the plunge. It is a year long class and promises to be fun with spreadsheets, forecasting, marketing, bookkeeping etc.
But, had my first class tonight and am don't really know how I feel about it. A lot of the class is based on Gerber's philosophy from the E-myth. Much of it has to do with putting systems into place and having systems to run those systems. I know why this works. I also recognize that it is successful but I have worked in far too many places run by these systems and have detested every moment I spent within the confines of these rules, regulations and necessary way of doing things because this is the way we do it. All my life I have strayed from doing things the correct, right or 'efficient' way because they usually don't work for me. See, every person is different and therefore they each have a different way of getting to the same place. At least, this is what I believe. So, with my business I have given (perhaps too much so) great freedom to my employees. They pretty know what I expect. If they learn or operate differently than I do (or whatever the system dictates is best) that is fine by me. I leave them to do there job once I am satisfied they know what it is. They are on their own and I am happy to let them alone.
In class I commented that I thought perhaps these systems in place seemed to side swipe innovation. I mean how do the people I work for have the freedom to innovate if they are asked to follow particular procedures? Someone in class mimicked Gerber and said that there are systems in place for changing the systems. I thought, good God, procedures for implementing changes? It sounds like a big business to me with lots of tape to get through before we can change the type of paper clip we use internally. The point of operating my own business is to avoid all this crap. But, I do agree that there does have to be documentation and therefore some way of doing things (systems...I admit it). No doubt, so that if a person leaves the position can easily be filled. But, I believe that if each new employee understands what the goals and priorities of the organization are and they are given the tools to meet these expectations AND the freedom to experiment with the systems currently in place then the company is that much more human and that much more an organization I want to run and also a place someone might want to spend some time at.
Just my thoughts. So I am sticking to hybrid on the whole system thing. Otherwise, I am excited about the class and to be surrounded by 19 other people all running their own small businesses.

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