The 3-Legged Stool of Business

You’ve all seen or heard or experienced a 3-legged stool. It is very stable, even if the legs are uneven in length. And, if you remove one leg, it won’t stand at all.

So it is with your business.

The 3 legs of your business are:

  1. Production
  2. Marketing
  3. Administration

Your business will ultimately fail if these legs aren’t strong and of similar length.


Production is getting your product or service completed and in the hands of the customer – on-time and on-budget. This is what your customers are paying you for.

This is your talent or skill. This is what you were good at when you decided to become a business owner.

You are a good carpenter, web-designer, programmer, mechanic, typist, baby-sitter, dog-washer, card payer, musician, writer, butcher, baker, or candlestick maker…

You KNOW how to DO the nuts and bolts of what your business does for others.

You have to be good in this area or else your reputation will precede you and you will eventually go out of business because you can’t find any more customers who are willing to pay for your mediocrity.

Keep getting better.

Practice, Read the Latest, Go to Seminars or School.

Spend some time each day or week learning and practicing what you do so you will eventually be the best there is at what you do.

Remember to learn from every job or transaction.


Marketing is everything you do to bring yourself new business. Without marketing, you will not have customers.

The best marketing is done according to choice, not chance.

Advertising is a large part of how to get new business, but who are you advertising to?

EVERYBODY really does not need your product or service, so who, REALLY, would be your ideal customer?

What would be the best way to get their attention?

Spend plenty of time tuning up your advertising to make the most bang for your buck. Test the copy, test the channel, test the results.

Marketing also includes the “package” your product or service comes in.

What little extras do you throw into the bag? How do you followup to be sure the customer is satisfied with their interactions with you? How do you get new leads from existing customers? Do you have an up-sell or add-on plan for each transactions?

Marketing is being thoughtful and consistent about generating new business.

I had a client that taught me his dilemma.

He had no business, so he’d “Market, market, market”. Then he’d have so much business he’d be buried for weeks trying to catch up – “Work, work, work.” Then, he’d run out of business and have to go back to “Market, market, market”.

We taught him how to balance his time investments and “Market, Work, Market, Work, Market, Work…”

His business and life became far less harried.

Build a Marketing Plan to keep you on track attracting more business for your business.


Someone has to keep all the wheels on the bus.

Administration is that guy. You need to know how to or hire it done, but done it must be.

  1. Planning
  2. Money Management
  3. Project Management
  4. Time Management
  5. Employees
  6. Rules & Regulations
  7. Taxes
  8. Records and Organization
  9. Maintenance
  10. ??? What Else Do You NEED to DO to Stay On Course?

Without keeping these areas up and running, without backlogs, up-to-date, and active, you’ll eventually drown in the backwash.

Most of the clients I’ve consulted with have root troubles in this area.

They don’t keep their bookkeeping up-to-date and they miss tax deadlines.

They don’t see that they are losing money on every job, so they can’t stay ahead of their creditors.

They run their business on scraps of paper or notes in their cellphone.

They save it all up for a marathon session that never happens.

Sometimes, they aren’t even aware of what needs to be done in these areas.

When you put together your Business Plan, include a BIG chapter on these topics.

When you go to do business, DO these Administrative tasks as well as you do your Production tasks.


Be sure to build all three legs into your business. It will fall over without paying attention to all these areas – in a balanced way. If you aren’t good at some of this stuff, hire it, out-source it…

But get it done.

Be a stable business for the long-haul.

2 thoughts on “The 3-Legged Stool of Business”

  1. Great advice! Thanks for sharing these tips. I struggle to balance all the legs and I’m sure other business owners do too. I think an important point to remember is to make a solid plan and then work it.

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