Diana owned a successful contracting business along with her husband Mark. They had grown their company at a steady 4-5 percent clip over the prior decade until they reached $750,000 sales per year.
But at this point Diana and her husband felt stuck. They were working long hours, and the business had begun to feel like drudgery. In fact, if she was being honest with herself, part of her fantasized about selling or closing it down because of how much of a burden it felt like. Yes they were profitable, and the company had afforded them a comfortable lifestyle in southern California, but this wasn’t her dream.
It was at this point that Diana and her husband reached a critical decision point, and it’s one that if you’re not informed, could slip right past you, trapping you forever in the mundane day-to-day job of your business.
So what is this key decision? It is simply this–to make the decision that you will build your business so that it can sustainably operate independent of you the owner.
Notice your first reaction to that statement, “Build your business so that it can sustainably operate independent of you the owner.” If you’re like a lot of business owners we come into contact with in our business coaching practice, you likely had a predictable three part reaction to that statement.
First, you likely said, “Well of course I want to build my business independent of myself, duh!“
Then, you’re next reaction was a tentative, “But how do I do this? Can I even do this? I don’t know how and I’ve been doing this for a long time.“
Finally you reached the final stage, “Well I guess it’s possible for other businesses to do this, but not me–my business is different/special.“
I want to address that final stage, which I call “specialness”. Do you realize the price you, or any business owner for that matter, pay for locking into the belief that your business is so unique and special that it is the 1 in 10,000 company that simply can’t operate independent of its owner–you?
The consequences of stubbornly holding on to this belief are long hours, stunted growth, a fragile business, and a complete loss of personal freedom.
This was the exact same process that Diana went through with her husband Mark. How do I know this? Because I was literally talking with them both as they processed these thoughts during a break at a weekend business workshop they were attending that my company, Maui Mastermind, was sponsoring for 100 business owners in Irvine, California.
I remember that June day in 2012. They had just listened to three hours of step-by-step instruction on how to effectively build a business, not a job, yet they found themselves stuck.
“David,” they said, “We see how other business owners can do this, but our clients insist on working directly with Mark. And these ideas just wouldn’t work for our business.”
Thankfully by the end of the day they had talked themselves out of that limiting belief, and realizing they had nothing to lose and everything to gain, they started to apply what they learned on scaling their business.
They introduced rudimentary systems and internal controls, they delegated more to their staff, they narrowed their company and individual focus onto fewer, better places within their business, and they grew their muscles at letting their team “own” parts of their business.
Over the first twelve months they grew by over 35 percent. Over the following 24 months they grew by a total of 108 percent. Best of all, they had reduced their working hours from 70 hours a week to under 40, and they started taking regular vacations multiple times a year, something they hadn’t done for years prior.
So how about you? Are you still committed to the belief that your business couldn’t be grown to operate independent of you?
I hope Diana and her husband’s example inspire you to change your mind.
If you would like more on the specifics of successfully scaling your company? Here is a link to 21 free video trainings my company created on how to strategically scale your company and get your life back. Click here and access our free Scale Tool Kit today.