As a business owner, how many times during the day do you simply want your staff to “get it done?” Do you find yourself getting frustrated, sitting down (or getting up) and doing the task yourself? What kinds of feelings does this incompetence engender in your line of thinking? Where does it go?
Here’s an example: You own a busy catering company. When you started the company, it was just you. You were the cook, the cleaner, the server and quite literally, the bottle washer. You‘ve done a great job. Your reputation has spread to the point that you’ve had to add on staff in order to help you get the work done. They are an extension of you; everything that happens in the company is by your word to their ears.
What’s wrong with that picture? Well…ask yourself: is this what you want to be doing in twenty years? Do you want to have a business whose very heartbeat is aligned with your own?
Said differently…if something happens to you, how will that impact your business? If you need to take some time off to deal with family or some other type of emergency, how does that impact things?
(True story: I missed 3 of my graduation ceremonies because I had to run my companies. Can’t get those ceremonies back!)
Well, if you are like me, you know that this method of ownership is NOT sustainable. If you are like a lot of entrepreneurs – getting stuck in the everydayness of running a company is about as fun as pressing the “next” button on a production line; you have eyes on the NEXT BIG THING down the road!
Bottom line: With all of the work that you have put into your company, you want it to pay off. NOBODY is EVER going to pay you for your sweat equity. (Anybody know about that one?). And if you are the heartbeat of the company, your company has very little to no value without you in the midst of it.
And nothing will change unless you do something about it.
NOTHING. WILL. EVER. CHANGE. UNLESS. YOU. DO. SOMETHING. ABOUT. IT.
In order to get your company to that illusive “next level” (or “Stage Up” as I heard someone say…I think I like that better), you have to be prepared to think, act and do differently.
Yes – you might start by reading articles about why companies don’t grow. One that I really enjoyed by Erika Anderson, contributor at Forbes is called, “Top 10 Reasons Businesses Don’t Grow – Boiled Down to 2” (Sorry for Forbes’ eternal words of wisdom when you arrive!)
Do you know the reality of why they don’t grow? Business owners don’t have time to take care of the laundry list of tasks that it takes to grow their companies because they are always working. They are always working on some aspect of delivering products and/or services, interfacing with clients and prospects and pointing, directing people and clicking. The tail wags the dog. (No offense dogs!)
It means that you’ve got to empower your employees. Which means that:
- When someone asks you how to handle a situation, you say, “Not sure. Let me know what you come up with.”
- You hire people who are smarter than you…that can do your job
- You develop managers and leaders to take on some of the load of running the company
- You systematize things so that tasks are not solely dependent on one person, i.e. YOU.
- It means that when you give someone a task to do, you give them the leeway to get it done. Get the H E double hockey sticks out of the way
While these are bold tasks – there is a great deal of trust required to let these things go – one of the biggest obstacles we have seen with business owners is getting in their own way. When you own all of these tasks, there is no room nor any time for you to focus on planning for what that “next level” is going to look like, nor planning how you will get there. You might look at this along the spectrum of leadership maturity.
The reality, it is not as difficult to get there as you might think. While I would not go to the extent of saying that there is a secret elixir that everyone can drink that will guarantee that you will get there faster than you can shake a stick, I would bet dimes to dollars that you know what your customers want and how to give it to them at a price they are ready and willing to pay.
That means you have a marketable business. That is the foundation upon which every business is built.
The businesses that become extraordinary are run by those who have figured out how to get out of their own way, vision, plan and build on that foundation.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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