In conversation with a gentle lady a while back, around the topic of running and growing a sustainable business, the woman asked me how she could get beyond living from check to check and make some real, sustainable money in her business. My response was that in all likelihood, she could not. Not that she didn’t have a great service, great report with her customers and vendors or have good business practices on a whole. The problem was that she could not see the business as being bigger than herself. She could not relinquish controls so she could focus on the things only she could do in the business.
I went on to explain to him that running a business is not unlike going hunting. I say hunting because this is an activity that was once a means of survival, not unlike running a business. Now, suppose you are part of a community and it is your responsibility to go out and find meat for the community. You know that you are an expert hunter; no one can run faster, throw or shoot straighter, stalk their prey better and “bring home the bacon” like you can.
With this great knowledge, you go out and prepare yourself for the hunt. You paint your face and body so you blend in with the surroundings. You might even find some special mud that would overpower your human scent. You make sure that you have all of your equipment and you take off.
The first day you go out…you find an antelope. You kill it, clean it and bring it back. That night the community celebrates. You are a hero. After the celebration, there is no more meat.
The second day, you find a wild boar. You kill it, clean it and bring it back. Again, after celebrating your victory, there is no more meat, and you’ve got to go out, again. However, the boar nearly gorged you with its tusks. What would have happened if you’d gotten hurt?
The third day, you are smart. You find and kill a water buffalo. However, it is too large to bring back, so you cut off what you can carry and take it back to your community for what you know will be a celebration that will tap your resources, and you’ll have to do it, again. This time, however, you are exhausted. Mustering energy to do it tomorrow is going to take a miracle.
So…what if instead of going out on your own day after day, you had gone with a team. Do you think you could have taken down a number of antelope, a couple of boar and a couple of water buffalo, brought them back, cleaned them and, perhaps, eaten for a month? Perhaps you would have had to spend some time training them, perhaps you would have had to supervise them and perhaps some of them who wanted to be hunters wouldn’t have worked out.
Nevertheless, if you want to get out of the day in and day out hunt for survival that could eventually cripple your community (what happens if you get hurt or sick??), you have to take the time and plan for how the hunt can be expanded to include other members of your community, bring in more sustenance while, at the same time, require going out less.That’s the nature of the hunt, and that’s the nature of business.
As business leaders, if you want to have an extraordinary business, you’ve got to realize that it is most likely going to be bigger than you. You are going to need to take the time to teach people how to hunt. They won’t always work out. They won’t always do what you need them to do. Some, you won’t even be able to train. However, when you find the right person, they will be the left and right arms you need to be able to increase the number of clients you can serve and thus the revenue your company is able to bring in.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses. We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Specialty Consumer Services. As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions. If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].