Graham recently had the privilege of working with a budding success story who was struggling with the overwhelm of trying to do it all in his own business.
As an Entrepreneurially minded Business owner, he started his own Business because of an “Entrepreneurial seizure”; he was passionate about what he did, but was sick of working for somebody else. He dreamed about the freedom and lifestyle that should have by owning his own Business.
Like many Business owners I have worked with he complained that he now worked harder and longer than he ever did as an employee despaired of ever reaching that elusive magical freedom and lifestyle. The truth is he felt overwhelmed, stressed and actually resentful of the very vehicle that was to give him his freedom – his Business. He was overworked, stressed, unfulfilled and felt trapped.
His relationships with his loved ones were deteriorating and his health was suffering badly. His bank manager has been transformed from a smiling helping hand to a grabbing claw and his staff seemed idiotic wastes of time and money. Scariest of all – every minute not spent working left him feeling guilty and insecure.
According to Michael Gerber, author of “The E-myth Revisited”, the terrifying failure statistics for small businesses like his is due not only to cash flow, poor money management and inadequate systems, but also due to the inability of small business owners to make the transition from working IN their Business to working ON their Business – to develop and balance the essential elements of Technician; Manager and Entrepreneur within themselves.
The success of any Entrepreneurial Business lies in the heart of the business owner. Their personal strengths or weaknesses impact directly on their relationships with their staff, their suppliers and more importantly on their customers and so ultimately on their financial stability and success.
We worked together to get clarity on exactly what he wanted his business to give him – this helped to set benchmarks to and focus his activities congruently towards achieving those benchmarks.
We began to set up systems so that he could begin to remove himself from operating at a purely technical level and begin to adopt a more managerial and strategic roles, delegating day to day operational activities to his staff within a systematised structure which gave him the freedom to be more strategic while retaining the trust that things were working properly because a system was in place to make sure that it ran.
We developed a Standard Operating Manual and implemented controls to monitor it. We redefined the roles of his employees and enriched their working experience by devolving some authority to match their clearly defined responsibilities and accountabilities.
Now that the business was operating smoothly and he himself was methodically withdrawing from “Having to do everything around here”, he was able to be more strategic. He was able to look for better ways of doing things and implement innovations. He began to look for and harvest ideas and opportunities that were previously hidden or frustratingly unavailable because he was so swamped. His business became exciting again.
Now we were able to define his market niche and identify the demographics and psychographics of his “deal customer” profile. By recognizing what his existing customers found valuable we were able to refine his product offering and predict what future customers would be willing to pay for his services and define his profit margin.
We were now able to create a marketing plan supported by a campaign to attract more of these ideal customers into his business leveraging off innovative, inexpensive marketing initiatives.
He began to realize the value of his time and where best to focus his effort so as to balance the aspects of ‘doing’, managing and strategizing. Finding innovative ways to leverage his time, energy, skills, resources and money to set his business up to support his ideal lifestyle instead of living in the trap that so many small business people suffer from.
By accepting that his life could be whatever he wanted it to be, we were able to redesign his life and his business to suit himself, his vision, mission and values, and not the myriad ‘pseudo-dependents’ who clung to him.
Today he has set up a blue print of his ideal business – lean, clean, flexible and exciting, and is energetically pursuing his dream secure in the trust the he really does “play in a safe playground” and that it IS “all up to him”.
He works less, has more fun and makes more money than he ever did before.