Conway Daily Sun, June 30, 2010
By Michael Kline
Owning your own business is your ticket to freedom. Yeah right! Funny, how the goals change over the years of owning a business. For many, in the beginning, the goal was simply to create a job, working for yourself. Usually, a more ideal goal when opening a business is to create personal and financial freedom you are not likely to achieve working for someone else. Whatever your goal was in the beginning, I bet it’s changed a few times over the years. In good times, it might become a little grander – to expand and become five times our current size! In times of stress, the goal may adjust downward, just a tad, maybe to get through the week without killing anyone! As someone who has just announced a pretty dramatic exit strategy, I’d like to talk about reassessing our ticket to freedom concept.
Our goal was always to work on our business, rather than in our business. With our background in franchising, this was obvious to me, but it’s a difficult lesson to learn for the person starting a business in which they are the person who delivers the goods or services. If you are the artist, the chef, the landscaper, the lawyer, the carpenter, etc. then you are your business, especially in the beginning. You often don’t really own a business, as much as you own a job. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you need to understand the difference. You can’t sell a job, like you can a business. A job doesn’t build equity and you can’t hire someone else to do it without firing yourself. A business on the other hand, is a separate entity that can live without you. A business, that has systems and processes that are teachable, repeatable and sellable, has value beyond providing you with a job. You can expand such a business, hire someone else to run it, sell it or just have more fun running it yourself.
The entrepreneur’s job is to create a business that is marketable. Your product isn’t the goods and services your business sells. Those goods and services create your cash flow, but your real product is the business itself. It only has one customer – the person who buys it when you’re ready to exit as the owner. Now, with that mindset, how do you go about building your business as the ultimate “product” to sell? You would make it what we call turn-key.
Think of creating a franchise prototype. Develop your business to run predictably, successfully and profitably without you. If it can run without you, then you can choose when, how and if you’ll work in the business. You must have two hats – one is that of an employee, you wear whenever you are working in the business, and another hat as an investor you put on when you are working on your business. If you’re the master artist/chef/carpenter/lawyer/dentist/barber, and you like to work your craft art, great! Now build your business for other people to run so that you can concentrate only on your craft, wearing your employee hat. You will need to have time to wear your investor hat to work on your business though, to establish the systems and processes that can be teachable, repeatable and marketable, if you ever want your freedom.
If your ultimate goal is freedom, (say to start something new or focus on your passions) then
Making this happen is easiest with involvement from your entire team. Depending on your business, sometimes that literally means every employee, but sometimes it’s a group of key people. Anyone who’s worked in a large organization knows management by committee is slow, fragment, and more complex than management by an individual. That’s not what I’m suggesting. We want to create a structure, or framework, for creating systems! Go ahead, make your fun – this isn’t like asking for paperwork to analyze how to reduce paperwork. It may sound like a government program at first, since I am suggesting we create systems for creating systems, but this works
As the owner or CEO of your business, you are the ultimate decision maker. But with your strategic team, you will gain from their insight and experience. You’ll be exposed to a diversity of viewpoints and a wider variety of alternatives than you could ever come up with yourself.
They can help you with:
- Long-term plans and budgets
- Tracking of overall business indicators
- Business policies
- Major projects
- Marketing decisions
- Customer service strategies
- Just about any issue you want!
To do that, you need to develop it to operate and be successful without you. The good news is, there is a proven, step by step process, by which any business owner can create a predictable business in any industry. Coincidentally, for more information on this process, there are local seminars available on how all this works, or you can contact your local Entreprenologist for help!