IndependenceBy Nina Kaufman, Esq.
“I took my first 3-week vacation ever,” beamed my 62-year-old client, Tim, over lunch.
“Never checked in once. It felt amazing. And my doctor is finally taking me off all the blood pressure meds I’ve been on. Can you imagine?”
Tim, the owner of a 7-figure glass business, was finally enjoying the fruits of his labors. He had a team he could rely on. Documented systems for accountability. Solid financial metrics. A COO who understood the ethos of the company and could handle the project management.
In other words, the company was finally independent.
But it took a while to get there.
If your business is dependent you, it falls apart when you can’t be the engine of activity. What gets in the way? Caregiving. Health issues. Family circumstances. Community commitments. Vacation.
Whether your business scales can be a concern for larger corporate clients, too, who want consistency and continuity.
My colleague Aldonna Ambler knows this first-hand. She was thrust into caring for her husband of 36 years who developed terminal cancer. For 6½ years, they endured the grueling process of bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy, radiation, hospitalizations. Not to mention $8 million worth of bills. She confided:
If I hadn’t scaled my companies, I wouldn’t have a business now. I would have lost the clients. Or been forced into bankruptcy.
Isn’t it time your business began to run without you? Here are five suggestions to help it become more “independent”:
- Be presidential. Get out of service delivery and uplevel to strategy. Yes, this requires different skills sets, like understanding financial statements. But hey, if you got this far in a successful career, you’re smart enough to learn this too. For example, the AMA has excellent seminars on accounting for non-accountants.
- Build a team. Develop “bench strength.” Give people incentives to step up and take on greater responsibility. Consider sharing the risk with high performers who have long-term potential. (They could also become future buyers for your business.)
- Protect your systems and intellectual property. This can give you leverage when it comes to licensing or “private-labeling” content.
- Recurring revenue. As you’ve heard me beat that drum, have contracts that repeat and recur (like IT maintenance agreements) rather than earning project by project.
- Productize your service. If your business has an education or training component, consider creating teleseminars or webinars to deliver the information.
Business owners often dissolve their companies because they wait until they’re so worn out, they don’t have the energy to create value.
So rather than letting the prospect of working harder (and longer) weigh you down, think about working smarter. Contact us to get started on a better path.