What do I mean by the Craft of Business? Why does Craft come before Art?
If a professional dancer wants to be great, he or she spends endless hours with professional instruction, learning how to move in a very precise way. This may take years. Every muscle in the dancer’s body learns and remembers how to move. Only when the dancer has learned the craft of dance, can he or she combine that craft with creative inspiration to perform with true art. Clearly, the hard work of learning the craft comes before the freedom of the art.
There is craft before art in drawing, painting, architecture, acting, cooking, or any creative endeavor. Why should business be any different? The fact of owning a business in no way qualifies a person to competently and effectively run a business. Small businesses differ from larger organizations in that they are typically run by non-business professionals. Most small business owners are artists, doctors, roofers, or chefs. But nothing in the training in art, medicine, construction or cooking deals with the “nuts and bolts” of the business.
Regardless of the field, the craft of business requires specific skills in finance, marketing, employee management, selling, and planning. In medium and large companies, the organization hires specialists in these areas. But that is not an option in most small businesses. So the small business owner needs to learn enough in each of these areas and to find resources to allow their business to be successful.
If you are a small business owner, what can you do about the craft of business? First, be honest about what you know and do not know. Then get help. Think strategically. No one can do it all themself. Do not assume for example, that just because you cannot afford expensive advertising, you shouldn’t have a marketing program. There is a lot more to managing employees than just “I’m the boss, do what I say.”