Starting your painting business

In the E-Myth Michael Gerber talks about “entrepreneurial seizure”– someone is good at something, and believes he should start a business. Far too many painting contractors have fallen victim to entrepreneurial seizure.

Such individual believe that the quality of their work will keep them busy. They might even think it will make them reasonably wealthy. They are wrong.

Running a successful business requires a great deal more than good painting skills. In fact, running a successful painting business doesn’t require good painting skills. I’m not a particularly good painter. Never have been, and never will be.

Running a successful painting business requires a myriad of skills and knowledge—marketing, sales, accounting, management are just a few. Without these skills the best painter in the world will be, well, the best painter in the world. But he won’t be a successful business owner.

A successful business requires good business skills. Everything else can be hired. Just as you can hire an accountant, lawyer, graphics designer, etc., you can hire good painters. But you must guide the ship. You must make decisions. You must plan and manage. And all of that requires good business skills.

The great news is: those skills can be learned. At one time every great business leader started at the same place you started—as a babbling, pooping baby. They learned the skills that made them great, and so can you. It just takes effort, determination, and a plan.

Use your brain instead of your brawn

It is not uncommon for a painting contractor to claim that the quality of his work gives him a competitive advantage. “I don’t need to advertise,” he will boast. “I get all of my work by referral.”

While such claims may be true, they make a very revealing statement about the speaker. He believes that the physical work he performs is the most important, and perhaps the only, factor that matters. He believes that the values offered by painting contractors are limited to the physical realm.

It doesn’t take a degree in economics to understand the fallacies within such a view. All it takes is a conscientious look at reality.

The values created by physical effort—brawn—are limited. A man can only apply so much paint in a day. He can only fell so many trees or dig so many ditches. When an individual relies solely on his physical abilities, his output—i.e., the values he can create—are necessarily limited. And so is his income.

The opposite is true of intellectual effort. A man who expends his time in the same business pursuing intellectual solutions opens up almost unlimited possibilities. If he uses his mind he can greatly increase the number of houses his company paints each day. His income also is almost unlimited.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t a place for painters. There obviously is—somebody has to put paint on the walls. But if an owner wants to truly grow his business, he must recognize the limitations of his brawn. He must embrace the almost unlimited possibilities of using his brain.

Page 5 of 512345