Why Product Focused Owners End Up On The Treadmill

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Last week we tried to give perspective to the idea that being the classic Systems Focused owners are great business builders but aren't such great business starters.

This week we want to see why Product Focused owners start the most businesses.

There are three basic business owner profiles:
1)    The Market Focused owner
2)    The Systems Focused owner
3)    The Product Focused owner

We're all a mix of all three, but we all lean heavily on a primary profile for the way we manage and make decisions.

Business owners whose primary profile is Product Focused are passionate about the product or service they provide, but usually not about business itself.  They are experts, professionals, craftspeople, and artisans; implementers, producers, doers, and finishers.  They like being tactical, on the ground, getting things done, and they take great pride in the product or service they offer.

Passion for their "craft"; their chosen service or product, is what drives them to build their business. Product Focused owners have difficulty giving production over to employees (or even having employees), who, in the craftperson's opinion, might lower the quality. And customers can get in the way because they want to modify the product or service - "I make a great chair, you ought to buy it."  (as is)

The Product Focused owner can't see the need to waste time thinking about the future or the past.  They act on what needs to be done today. They don't expend much energy on "strategic" planning or action, which is also as a waste of time that could have gone into today's production.  This is a great asset in getting things done on a day-to-day basis, but doesn't help set them up for future success.   

Selling a Great Product by Random Hope is their default business strategy.  The product or service itself is so great that customers will simply flock to my door.  This product focus keeps them from taking on board good feedback from customers about how to make it more sellable - this feels like compromise to the Product Focused owner.

Their greatest assets are passion for their product/service, the ability to act quickly, creativity in developing and perfecting their product, finishing each task, and a great focus on tactical day-to-day production.   Their challenges include focusing more on their product then their customer, doing too much themselves, seeing employees as lowering quality, "rugged individualism" (not getting input or working as a team), and implementing without thinking.

Most new businesses in the U.S. are started by business owners with a strong Product Focused primary profile. However, that same focus on production keeps them from improving the business or planning for the future, leading to stagnation of the business when it reaches the capacity of the Product Focused owner to produce from their own 168 hours per week.  

Their biggest issue is actually ironic -  They are so busy making money that they never think about building a business that will make money while they're on vacation.  Until they get tired of being the producer, they will be on the treadmill.  The Product Focused owner is most likely to spend 30 years producing and end up with a business that can't be sold because it never grew up.

If you're a Product Focused owner, and most of us are, get serious about growing a business that will make money while you're on vacation.  Get the influence of the Market Focus in your business to keep you planning for the future, and the Systems Focus to help you build processes and systems that will help you grow a real business.  Just because most small businesses are on the treadmill doesn't mean they should be.  

The only reason we don't grow a mature business is real simple - we don't intend to.

Be intentional - grow a business that makes money when you're not around.  You'll enjoy life a lot more.


About

Chuck Blakeman, founder of the Crankset Group - a worldwide business advisory, is the author of the #1 Rated Business Book of 2010 in the U.S., Making Money Is Killing Your Business.

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