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Last Update: Monday September 20, 2021

Key Idea: Stop Doing and Start Leading

Sohrab doesn't draw anymore.  He had to give that up so he could lead the company.

Key Question:


If you keep doing what you did when you started the company you are stuck and can't possibly grow.  You must put systems and procedures in place, hire people you can teach then step back and let them do their jobs.

Can you imagine the sadness Sohrab felt when they took his drafting table away? It wasn't that he used it, he hadn't for years. But that table was part of his self-concept as a designer. Without it, he wasn't sure who he was any more. Only with the counsel of his friend did he realize he was still very much a designer. He was no longer designing products; he was designing the company.

As business owners, how do we recognize when our role in our own company is changing and how do we respond to that change?

Remember when you started your business? You did it all. And you were swamped. Gradually, as your business grew, you attracted and developed key people in your organization that today; you just couldn't get along without. More and more, you delegate to and rely on these valuable team members. So what is your role? Michael Gerber teaches us in his E-Myth books that we have to work in our business and on our business to be successful entrepreneurs. Our job as owners is to work on our business. We must think strategically, be cognizant of developing threats and opportunities, and position our company to respond to both.

Think about it

Are you working on your business or just in it? If not you, who?

Clip from: Ziba Design - Be well. Do it well. Then Do It Even Better.

Sohrab Vossoughi and his people seek a higher perfection.

Portland, Oregon:  "Be well. Do it well. Then, do it even better"  drives this industrial design firm. These creative perfectionists have come from all over the globe to work side-by-side with this man pictured above, Sohrab Vossoughi.  They want to be part of a team that can make a difference in this world and in their life.

"Strive for simplicity, innovation, human-centered interaction, visual interest, and efficiency." This is the calling card not just of a design firm; it is a calling card for all businesses for the future.

Ziba Design, Inc.

Sohrab Vossoughi, Founder, CEO

334 NW 11th Street
Portland, OR 97209

Visit our web site:

Office: 503.223.9606

Business Classification:
Design, Invention,

Year Founded: 1991

Stop Doing and Start Leading

Ten years ago, I came in one day to Ziba -- this is a story I tell everybody -- I came into Ziba and I saw a computer (where my drafting table was). I am from the old school, I use the drafting table. I know how to use the computer, but only for word processing and for some of the other email and stuff like that – I don't know how to design on the computer. I would like to learn it but I have not had the chance to do that.

So, I came in and I saw my drafting table gone. They said, “Oh, we have a new employee.” They took mine and they put it in front for this guy.

It was a sad day and also a big day of realization for me. I called my friend who is an advisor to the company. He said, “How are you doing?” I said, “I am not doing well; today I came in and my drafting table was gone. I feel like I am no longer a designer. I know that I wasn't using it, but now I think that all these years that I went to school and everything to be a designer and I am no longer a designer, I am an administrator running a business.”

He told me something; he said, “Sohrab, don't forget, you are still designing but at a different level. Everything you do is about design.”

And I look at it that way and I realize that Ziba is my design project. I am building it and designing it and redesigning it every day. So I'm not done with my project.

In the Studio

HATTIE: Take time to think, to dream, to explore the inner recesses of your mind. You might be shocked to find wonderful new insights that help make our world a better place.

HATTIE: For the 15 million of you who operate a one-person business, remember Sorhab started at his kitchen table. You may want to stay there, but to grow, spend time with people with different backgrounds and disciplines. The cross fertilization of ideas may jumpstartn your next new revenue stream.

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