As business owners, we all want to grow our companies, but to what end?
Your business is one of the most complex pieces of machinery to operate.
You need people, finance, technology, and all the bits and pieces it takes for a business to get off the ground, grow, and scale to work together toward a common direction..
At every level, Owners run into roadblocks.
These roadblocks get in the way of the desired outcomes you are trying to achieve.
Those desired outcomes are different at every stage of business
Start and build to $1M in annual revenue run rate. This is a magic number, but only 5% of the companies started ever do this.
Before you answer this in your head, ask yourself, WHY?
I believe there are two reasons why every owner should want to operate a successful company.
And, what you decide to do with that income and wealth determines how your life plays out to some extent.
To those who have not lived it yet, this might sound greedy or self-serving.
But for those who understand, it’s the gateway to the real life you want to live.
Keep in mind, I’m someone with the life experiences of a perennial #2 in multiple businesses who focused far too long on building income and not enough time building wealth – you need both.
I have a laundry list of accomplishments that I can name off just like a lot of other entrepreneurs.
Here are just a few. (make this like the areas of specialization section on the home page)
A lot of these experiences have provided me with hind sight and examples for me to use to illustrate some key components of this book.
Owner are those strange thrill seekers who take on significant challenges and financial risk to satisfy the reward-behavior component in our brains so that we can say to ourselves and the world – I built a successful business.
Some business owners I’ve interviewed have said they wanted to build a business because it gave them a sense of freedom and accomplishment.
Others thought it was the best way for them to express themselves and their talents.
And still others want to build their business because they want to do something good for their community or society.
Back to income and wealth for owners.
I won’t lie, income and the “business owner” status are big reasons most people start their companies. It’s American to want to have a business.
Owners want to earn a respectable living, be looked up to and become wealthy.
If you have not at least thought about it this way, you’re lying to yourself – the worst person on earth to do that to by the way.
We’ve all read the book Find Your Why: A Practical Guide to Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team.
If you haven’t now would be a good time to grab a copy or download on Audible – choose your medium.
Figuring out your why will help you get through those days when it feels like endless work with nothing in sight but more work.
You might also go through the exercise of writing down your Personal Priority Matrix.
Here is my Priority Matrix. .
Meaning For Me
Wife, Son, Close Family
Be a good husband, father, friend
Heart, Body, Mental
Eat right, exercise, recharge, monitor insulin
Wealth, Income, Freedom
Sustain income, build wealth
Guilt Free Joy
It might sound silly, but whenever I am feeling up against it, I say the five priorities to myself a few times and it calms me down and gets me back to center.
Why? Because I understand the intention behind each Priority – like a mantra.
Told you it might sound silly, but it works for me. And it could work for you too.
We’ll come back to this later.
We have a Discovery Call, get clear on your vision, goals and constraints.
We have a Planning Call where I present a strategy and show you the cost of doing more of the same.
When you’re ready: we have a kick off call to get started removing constraints.
After you’ve started your business the question on everyone’s mind, even mine today, is – how do I/we [build, scale, exit]?
You fill in the blank for yourself, your leadership team and your business depending on which stage you are currently in and where you’re trying to get to next.
In 2004 I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Verne Harnish, one inspiration for the path I took in business. He has written several books like Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and a follow on of Scaling Up.
Mr. Harnish talks about why hiring a #2 for your business is the single biggest decision you might make as an entrepreneur.
On a few occasions I’ve tried to implement his system in businesses I’ve worked for as a consultant.
With any new system in a business, you’ll need someone to take ownership of making sure your people are educated and bought in, drive the process forward, and quality control the results you achieve with the new system. This is a big task.
I came to the conclusion that simple is better.
That’s why I’ve stuck with the 4 Elements of Small Business Transformation when helping business owners decide how to remove constraints within their business.
The type and volume of leads your sales system needs.
Enough sales and revenue to hit your growth goals.
Cost efficient services and products that make customers happy.
Profits, people, hiring, and incentives
To achieve your desired outcomes you’ll need to get good at removing the constraints within each major part of your business.
No matter which stage of business you are in there are constraints that continuously arise.
Here are some popular constraints I’ve helped business owners face.
The person you have in a certain role isn’t a good fit
The profit you are making is not high enough to sustain the service or product
The process your people are following does not produce the desired outcome
We don’t know what to do next to solve the problem we THINK we have
The software we’re using is more of a blocker than an efficiency maker
Recognize them early, fix them fast, and move on – that’s the recipe. It’s about progress, not perfection. Easier said than done.
However, I will tell you this, the right people for your business will be the ones who understand the issues and are capable of helping you resolve them.
People are a strange mix of past experiences, emotions, bias, motivations, and skills, BUT … they are critical to building, scaling and helping exit businesses.
One of the most famous business books is Good to Great by Jim Collins, which recommends business owners need to ‘get the right people on the bus’ first before deciding how to make the changes in your business.
This refers to finding the right people for the roles you have or will have to help achieve your desired outcomes.
Another eye opening book is Do You Have Who It Takes? Managing Technical Talent in a High Risk Technical Workforce by one of my past clients Steve Trautman.
I’m sure there are several more books out there.
The most important thing I’ve learned over the years in working with a variety of teams at every stage of business is that certain people are capable of functioning and performing well at certain levels of the business.
You may have someone who is amazing at getting things off the ground, but terrible at managing a sustained performance.
Or, you might have someone who has the imagination to see beyond where your business currently stands, but unable to execute the consistency needed for the day to day.
It is incumbent upon you, the leader of the team, to know who to bring in, when to bring them in, and what you expect of them in that role.