Earlier today, Jeanne and I had the pleasure of presenting our story at One Million Cups. And if you aren't familiar, One Million Cups is a weekly program that originated with the Kaufmann Foundation in Kansas City. In short, small businesses have the chance to share their story in a six-minute presentation in front of business community peers, advisors, and mentors. After the six-minute presentation, there is a 15 minute Q&A. This super fun idea is spreading across the country and Columbia hosts a weekly 1MC at the REDI office downtown. We've had our scheduled presentation date for a month or so, but true to our nature, I didn't prepare much prior to arriving. I did spend a few minutes watching some 1MC presentations from other cities on YouTube and then totally stressing myself out because a lot of the people in those videos were really nervous and it showed. I figured we had two positives to our presentation...1) I could talk to a wall for six minutes if I needed to, so no worries about coming up with stuff to say, and 2) we live in a pie vortex, so if someone wants to discuss the challenges of making the pies, marketing the pies, and growing #WorldPieDomination, then I AM YOUR GIRL, INDEED.
The 1MC concept is built around this opportunity to express unique challenges that you face in your business and then have the opportunity for others to weigh in on those issues. And it was really interesting that most people expressed a lot of the same sentiments after our six-minute presentation...namely, that we need to be working "on the business" and not "in the business". This seems to be a constant theme I've heard over the past week or so. A quick Google search reveals that oh, basically everyone in the entire world uses this phrase and I'm just late to the party. Sounds about right. (This all apparently originates from The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber. As I type this, my own copy from Amazon is in transit. 3,153 people have suggested that I read it in the last few days. Again - late to the party.)
Of course, working "on the business" and not "in the business" requires hiring a store manager and giving up the tons of control that Jeanne and I clearly enjoy. It also requires that if we aren't at the store, we actually do some stuff instead of binge watch Dexter all day. (I'd like to note here that when Michael Gerber wrote his book, Netflix wasn't A Thing.) And it requires that we know exactly what we need to do. And honestly, sometimes falling back on the obvious - the need to bake pies - is a lot easier than working on public relations or having shouty conversations about how much baby pie boxes might cost with our two-color logo imprinted on them.
If you haven't been to One Million Cups and you have the entrepreneurial spirit, I suggest you check it out. Do we know if Michael Gerber considers spending time listening to others also struggling to find all the answers to their entrepreneurial questions qualifies as working "on your business" and "not in it"? Whatever the case, I'm going back next Wednesday to listen to someone else's story so I can feel 100% less alone when feeling overwhelmed in building #WorldPieDomination...