Saturday, April 27, 2013

Day 27 – WorkStep Twelve: Go It Alone, Or Make You A Team?


Talk to any small business owner and ask: “What is one of your biggest headaches?” and (s)he’s always going to reply: “Employees.” The art of employment is an art of business: get the right team, and a lot of your work is done; get the wrong team, and spend many late nights bailing water out of the boat.

Brett is in Tokyo now, checking out BodyChance as part of our planning for BCLA. I have no hunger to do anything in LA. It’s fine by me to do nothing. That frees my thinking to look at many possibilities, without getting stuck on any one of them.

Looking at Brett, and thinking he may join the BodyChance team, I asked him a fundamental question, and I think it is a question every teacher needs to ask: Do you want to run your own one person business, or do you want to build a business with a team of people?

Alexander Technique is ideally suited to the former – make your Self a one trick pony. Be the guy who does “eyes” or “runs” or “golf” or whatever niche you want. Make your self a name: write books, become the expert, be the celebrity, travel around and charge ever increasing prices that offer you a comfortable, if not rich lifestyle.

Or build your Self a business. Be the “swimming” guy with a coterie of teachers all over the world, getting offers from large companies, being featured in Fortune magazine and handling all the headaches and challenges contained within that, but waiting a long time for your pay day. However, when it comes, it is sweet.

Which is your path?

Over coffee this morning in a little café in Meguro, Brett and I talked through this. For 43 years I was the one trick pony, now I am a CEO of a business: I have 7 full-time staff, another 30+ on some part-time deal, almost 200 members paying a monthly fee, real profits and increasingly optimistic prospects for expanding my business. Even while the world was falling apart during the Great Recession, BodyChance managed a 5% growth rate. Today we are back to 20% and increasing. The future is bright.

But boy oh boy, what a slog it was to get here. I started in 1999, and only since 2011 can I say I began to come into the light. Building a business, putting together a team, holds out a greater reward in terms of personal accomplishment and financial security, but it also has a higher attrition rate. It’s a tougher model.

I realize that up to now I have not posed this question to people reading my blog. Most of you are single teachers, working alone, building just one career. You are the majority.

However, it is possible to build teams, providing you do not underestimate the ease with which you can fail. When I am ready, I will create a course on how to pull together a team and make a business. I am not there yet, because as I am learning with both Sydney and now BCLA, this is a gargantuan undertaking populated with enormous risk. Alexander is industrial.

I need to be a tortoise, not a hare.

How about you? What do you want to do with your career?

TOMORROW: WorkStep Whatever – Let’s Free Flow for Awhile…

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