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Are You a Barnstormer? By: William Tiefenback GC

Are You a Barnstormer?     By: William Tiefenback GC


In June of 1965, 20th Century Fox released a entertaining movie titled “Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines.  It was a film that featured the comedian Red Skelton doing a narrative of the early aviation industry. It was a look at the success and failure that characterized the “Barnstorming” days of the early aviation.  Barnstorming was the first form of the Civil Aviation business.  A Barnstormer toured the countryside selling tickets to airs shows  of daring aerial  stunts or feats, as well as offing rides in these awesome machines.  They would rent a farmers field for a couple of days to put on their show and then move on to the next location.  These daring business people were often referred to as “Flying by the seat of their pants”.  Many small business people exhibit the same type behavior today.  They pretty much make it up as they go.  Not surprisingly Barnstorming was marked by many failures and mediocrity.  In the 1920’s it was an adventurous and romantic activity; though not a very effective business model. There were some successful large events of those times; but for the most part these business’ were pretty small and  isolated.  This is much like the situation most small business is in even today.
What was the reason for the poor outcomes of their efforts?  The reason is really pretty simple.  It is impossible for one person to do everything,  and do it well.  The reality is that today there is an abundance of chores or task’s that need to be done , and done well in order to achieve success.  At a minimum we need access to solid, experienced advice,  superior information,  and high caliber associates we can depend on for support.  Without these things it is not possible to grow,  and our success will be limited at best.  If you are constantly overwhelmed it is very hard to maintain the level of energy and fun that you deserve to experience.
How can you tell if you are a “Barnstormer”?  Are you someone who is reluctant to delegate?  Do you have to do everything yourself?  Are you feeling you don’t have enough time in the day to get everything done?  Do you do your own payroll and accounting?   Do you create and deliver all your own products or services?  These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself;  but the list can go on and on from here.  If you answered yes to these questions you are a Barnstormer.  There is nothing wrong with being a Barnstormer if you are content with limiting your  future to what it is today.  Most small business people will at least benefit from becoming more skilled and efficient at what they do.  As you grow professionally and personally what you will find is an increased capacity to enjoy more of what you want to enjoy.
A small business is of course small by definition and revenue is small as well.  It can be difficult to pay for the help you require in order to grow.  There are many ways to manage this situation economically. It is not automatic that you need to hire a full time employee.  There is a whole industry of outsource professionals you can hire on task oriented topics.  Remember that if you hire in-house staff you will not only need to invest in ongoing payroll; but the infrastructure and tools they will need to get the job done.  If you outsource the work you can avoid some of those cost.  Another consideration is how you structure payment for these things.   There are those who will accept payment on a performance basis.  There are membership organizations that provide business services on a membership basis that spreads the cost of the experts over the entire membership much like an insurance company.  These organizations can deliver tremendous value at low cost.
You need to assess your business to determine what it is that you really need and want to do in order to have the kind of business impact that makes you happy.   Put a dollar amount on each and very task that is associated with doing your business.  Ask yourself where you can invest yourself in the business to achieve the most joy and the highest payoff for your efforts.   Would you be ahead to pay an accountant $35 dollars an hour to do 2 hrs ($70.00) of bookkeeping and payroll in order to have the time to close 2 sales of $500.00 each for a $1000.00  gain?   If you look at it that way you can not afford to avoid getting the right thinking about getting the assistance you must in order to grow.   In this case you will be ahead of the game if you “Brainstorm”  with a trusted friend, partner,or  unbiased associate.  Doing this will enable you to achieve the awareness, clarity, focus, and accountability to  be the highest performer you can be, and have the life you really want to  have.

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