It is time for a lot of business owners to grow up. It is time for businesses to grow up.
At our last lunch in October John Heenan CEO of the Distribution Solution Company was our guest speaker and he presented everyone with a copy of Chick Blakemans book. “Making money is killing your business”
Blakeman has an interesting perspective on start-ups and small business. Too many do not grow up and you end up creating your own job, not your own business.
The tyranny of the urgent
He refers to it as the tyranny of the urgent versus the priority of the important.
Urgent is reactive, short term and defensive and is the treadmill of making money. Important is proactive and long term. It is about making money versus building a business.
It comes down to the definition of wealth, which is the ability to choose what to do with your time and your money. Can you?
- Are you the main producer/deliverer by choice or necessity?
- Does the business make money when you are somewhere else?
- Are you making decision based on where you are, or where you want to be?
Are you planning on exiting and selling your Business?
Chuck blames the focus on exit and selling your business. In his view that is similar to selling your children. Why would you invest all that love, time and passion to sell it off, instead of creating an ongoing stream of long term wealth?
Time and money are at a premium
Gallup research says that the average business owners work 52 hours a week (those are the lazy or lucky ones). They work 6 days a week, some have zero holidays and when they do over 50% still answer work related e-mails and calls. Only 3% of business owners create 86% of the revenue in the USA. So time and money are at a premium.
Are you on the treadmill?
According to Blakeman there are seven stages of business
Stage 1 Concept and start up; the trick here is to move as quick as possible from dreaming to doing. Stage 2 Survival; You are now on treadmill of urgent.
Stage 3 Subsistence; If you don’t watch it you are back in stage 2.
Stage 4 Stability; You have created yourself a well paid job. You are an employee of yourself.
Stage 1 to 4 are treadmills. You focused on the wrong question, which is “How do I make money”. Making money is NOT an empowering vision.
You need to get off the business treadmill!
The basics of a mature business are that you are not the main producer and it makes money when you are not there. Which moves us to stage 5 to 7.
Stage 5 Success; you have shifted your mindset to building a business versus building a job. You are moving from production to process. This is where Chuck introduces “freedom mapping”, it makes things consistent, repeatable and replicable.
Stage 6 Significance; your role has shifted to becoming a leader and you are less and less involved in direct delivery and production.
Which brings you to the last stage. Stage 7 Succession. This is where leadership is in charge and you have ingrained a culture that embraces your vision. Only vision. You are truly free.
The key question
What is stopping you to get to stage 7? Chuck thinks it is only one reason. You are not asking the right question. How do you build a mature business and when do I want to get there?
What do you need to do?
It is very simple. Intentionality. Make the decision, put a date on it and go public. Going public changes everything (the Hawthorne effect (also referred to as the observer effect) is a type of reactivity in which individuals modify or improve an aspect of their behaviour in response to their awareness of being observed).
As a business owner you owe it to yourself to try. Why would you not? How could you not? Particularly if you know that retirement as we know it now is bankrupt. Create your own retirement on your own terms.
Pick a date. You now have a clock ticking in your head. Define what does your business look like at maturity. Consider your lifetime goals (why, why, why, what is the transformative purpose). Consider the time and money required to create your ideal lifestyle.
More money, less time
Now back to basics. More money in less time. How to increase revenue and continually reduce time to bring in that revenue.
The freedom questions
Is this (whatever you are doing right now), the best use of your time? If this is not the highest and best use of your time, how do you ensure you do it for the last time? Those two questions need to be asked constantly in all parts of the business. Parts such as leadership, business development, operation and delivery, financial management, customer and employee satisfaction and to community and family impact.
Systems and processes are the key. What is your yield per hour now? What should it be? Do the activities you are involved with now, warrant the yield per hour you want?
Back to basics II
- Back to the big why. Why are doing this? Why do you matter? Why does your business matter? Why is it significant? What do you want to be remembered by for? Purpose and passion. Using time, money and energy to create significance.
- You then need a strategic plan. You don’t need a business plan. Chuck is not a fan of business plans. Planning does not create, movement does. Develop a two page strategic plan with key milestones and with an action plan attached. You review that strategic plan every day. You need to be able to recite that plan verbatim any time, any place within a maximum of 3 minutes. In the meantime the business maturity date is ticking in the background……
- You need then a set of outside eyes. A group of mentors. An advisory board. Make sure you are not alone.
In the book Chuck Blakeman gives a wide range of toolsets to figure out your lifetime goals, strategic plan, your leadership profile, etc. But the most important tool is the freedom mapping. Your franchise handbook. Your process descriptions. If you do one thing, do that. Map your overall business process and then break it down.
Stop playing office
Build a business engine. Create wealth, not money. Become a master of your own destiny. Become intentional, set the date, tell the world and move.
The Business Troubleshooters
In our experience, the owners of progressive, ambitious companies can become angry and frustrated from time to time, with distractions caused by the people, or the processes in their business. Symptoms of these can be poor cash-flow, slow sales, HR issues and other paralysing distractions.
We identify the real cause of the problem and fix it for good so you, the business owner, can focus more of your time and energy on growing your business.
We are not consultants, advisers confidantes, or coaches. We are fixers.
If there was one thing you could do right now that would have the single greatest impact for good for your business what would that be?
Contact Us: – Office: 059 910-0440, Fergus:086 087 0989, Alan: 086 2588847