Lunch with Paul Gallop, owner of Men At Work and winner of this year’s BILD Renovator of the Year award, was an eye opener. He talked about his influences in business during his early years, and said the turning point in his success was realizing that he needed to stop thinking he had to build a business.
“Run that by me again,” I said. For the last 10 years, Canadian Contractor magazine has dedicated itself to helping contractors learn how to move from working “in” their businesses to working “on” them. Here was a successful, six-figure earning contractor telling me we’ve had it wrong.
“I learned from some very smart people that what I really needed to do was think of myself as a professional running a practice, not a businessman running a business,” he said.
If you know the difference between what your doctor, dentist or lawyer do and say, the retail store down the street you have an idea of what he was talking about.
“I wanted to be a business. I wanted to own a business,” he continued, “and I worked very hard to create one, but it wasn’t working. It was only when I decided that I was the central figure in the business—that the business didn’t exist without me—that I began to enjoy what I was doing and make money.”
It hit me like lightening, and as we talked more about his decision to become a “practice” not a “business,” I realized he was describing an idea that had completely missed me for ten years.
We will be profiling Paul in the next print issue of Canadian Contractor. He’ll outline how he made his decision and how he made the transition from business to practice. He’ll tell you the pros and cons and ultimately help you decide if you should be going in the same direction.
To warm you up, here are few questions we asked of Judith Miller, one of the consultants who helped Gallop in his transformation. We interviewed Miller to learn more on the difference between running a business and conducting a practice.
Click on the question to hear Miller’s response:
Miller uses an article first published in the Harvard Business Review many years ago (you can download it here) to place the idea of running a practice in context: