Could You Become a Business Architect?

It takes more than few steps to go from a business technician to a business architect.

Chia-Li Chien | March 09, 2011

Ginger was tired of working for corporate America. At the top of the corporate ladder, she quit her job and pursued her dream of becoming an author. Like many start-up entrepreneurs, Ginger focused on how to get her product in order to start selling the product. The learning curve was formidable, first coming out of her corporate career, which was nothing like writing a book, then producing and selling it. After putting in much of her own hard earned savings, she finally got her book published. She then decided to use what she had learned to focus on not only selling her book, but others’ books as well. She began a self-publishing service locally and within a few years, she had some success and a few authors and their books under her belt.
During the deep financial crisis in late 2008, Ginger’s company was no exception and it took a hard hit. She watched her own personal savings evaporate and revenue decline. They could not stay in business. In early 2009, she decided to close the doors and get a job.
I’ve heard many stories like this one, but it never stops being hard to see a business colleague forced to take a different turn. Every year, millions of people start a business. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), of every six new businesses started, five close in five years. Despite the high risk, many people continue to try to innovate and push their passion to the limit to fulfill the American dream.
Through years of working with business owners, I’ve come to the conclusion there are three categories of entrepreneurs: Technician, Manager and Business Architect.

Technician. Michael E. Gerber; The New York Times bestseller of a series of E-Myth books, used a term called “technician” to describe most entrepreneurs. Ginger, for example, was a business technician.
“Technicians are those who find themselves in the role of Business Owner without the knowledge or skills necessary to run a successful business.” said Gerber. My personal definition of a technician is someone who effectively creates a job for themselves. A job means that the business provides the owner a salary of less than $100,000 a year. (Please make a note here; I said “salary” not “revenue.”)

Manager, on the other hand, is a level above technician and refers to those who become some sort of an organized broker and begins to see his or her business grow in double or even triple digits. This person is an entrepreneur who does things “right.” Typically, the owner of this situation creates a lifestyle in which the business provides his or her a salary $250,000 a year. Not bad right? Often, their business revenue will be anywhere between $10MM or $25MM. This is actually outstanding, and will push that business into the top 2% of all small businesses.

The third category is Business Architect, meaning the business provides an annual salary of greater than $250,000 for the owner, plus a minimum three to five times of business “value” back to the owner. This is a very rare breed of people. Becoming a business architect is not something you can pick up a book to read about or go to a few workshops and be there. This is an intuitive skill that only a few other owners have. Think of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and recently, Tony Hsieh from

So, you ask, how can an entrepreneur become a business architect? Well, there are ways and processes already designed to help you toward that goal. I will submit to you that many entrepreneurs are content just to be a technician or just a manager of a business. There is really nothing wrong with that. However, if you’re serious about being equitably compensated for the amount of risk you took in your business, you want to start thinking about how to become a Business Architect.

Your business is a vehicle to create wealth, not just for you, but also for your family, employees, partners, stakeholders and society. Yes, I know you’re passionate about what you do and fulfilling your dream. But if you want to focus on wealth creation, I challenge you to work toward being a Business Architect.

Americans are known for their innovation and celebration of freedom. We now have the White House calling urgently for more innovation in small businesses. Are we so behind the global competition that we need our government to remind us that we must keep up? Or are we entrepreneurs simply not getting the equitable compensation from the risk we took in business? Are there so many frustrated entrepreneurs that their children are discouraged and have no ambition in being entrepreneurs as well?

If you just want to be a great entrepreneur or manager, certainly E-Myth and other free materials in SCORE will do. However, if you want to take on the challenge of becoming a Business Architect, you need a Company Wealth Map, along with a Mentors Board and implementation Team to take your business to the next level, which means the level at which you can create a minimum of three times your current business fair market value. You and I know this does not happen overnight. It takes careful planning to craft, adjust and expand at the right market space along with the right team.

So are you ready to be a Business Architect so our future generation not only can compete globally but also continue to create and enjoy wealth?


Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; helps entrepreneurs to creating business value that transforms their world.  She is the author of Show Me The Money and columnist for & Fox Business online.   She is available for consulting, speaking engagements and workshops.  She can be reached at or


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