growth

Prerequisites for Growth

Last week we began a discussion on Avenues to Growth, and in introducing the concept we described how employing tactics to achieve that growth is meaningless without first defining your business goals, “your WHY”. The reason: how do you quantify actions without a desired outcome with which to measure those actions against?

Just get in your truck and drive. Go. Which way do you turn out of your driveway, or at the corner? Where are you going? After driving for an hour, aimlessly, where will you be?

It may be anecdotal, but there is truth in saying “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” Every time you get into your vehicle to drive, you have a goal of getting somewhere. It may be to the rink, the bank, or the store, but the point is you have a goal of where you want to go. And somehow, quite amazingly sometimes, you reach your declared destination.

Your business is no different.

Pursuing growth in business without defining what it is you’re trying to achieve is as fruitful as getting into your truck and driving aimlessly for an hour. You will have used up valuable resources (time, capital, fuel/energy, etc.)  and found yourself somewhere you didn’t expect to be. Then you have the challenge of figuring out what to do when you’re there. Turning the truck around and heading home is much easier than doing the same in business. Metaphor ended.

Step 1. Define your business goals for growth.

 


 

To achieve your growth goals, you will need sufficient resources. This opens up a plethora of subtopics that is suited to a separate discussion. For today, we will look at only one: financial.

Part of the activity in defining growth goals is to include discussion on the business’ financial resources. Does your business have, or can it acquire, the resources required to successfully implement the tactics that will achieve your goals?

Ask any banker, any financial analyst, and you’ll probably get a response akin to the importance of cash to your business. Cash is critical, often suggested that “cash is king.”

“Cash is not King…it’s the Ace!”

-Phil Symchych

To suggest cash is king would indicate that something else is the ace, meaning something else is more important than cash, and I’m here to tell you that cash is the lifeblood of your business and draining the cash from your business is similar to draining the blood for your body.

It’s true, cash is not king…it’s the ace.

“Growth, however, is king!”

-Kim Gerencser

By letting growth be the ace and cash be king, you’re placing growth ahead of cash; this is incredibly dangerous. Many aggressive businesses have grown themselves to the brink of bankruptcy by making this mistake. I recall dealing with some young farmers who pursued growth so rapidly that their working capital couldn’t keep up. They began borrowing more and more operating credit to keep the business afloat and found themselves using their operating line of credit to make their term loan payments (HINT: bankers get real squirrelly real fast when this happens.) This business didn’t have sufficient cash when pursuing their growth actions. They had no defined goals, only (what now appears to be) reckless abandon. They might have one year left, and if that year isn’t stellar they could be forced into liquidation.

Step 2. Compile (or acquire) sufficient resources for growth.

 


 

Because of my work in agriculture, I often get asked by non-farming people “How big is too big” when it comes to the size and scale of modern farm operations. My reply: I can tell you exactly when a farm is too big (as the audience waits with baited breath)…it’s the moment that the farm has outgrown the management ability of the manager! For some it’s 40,000 acres, for others it’s 400 acres. It all comes down to management capacity and ability.

Too often, businesses feel they must expand to remain relevant. As such, they pursue growth before they are ready. This can lead to management burnout, employee dissatisfaction, and lost customers. Consider a elementary school aged child; if that child has not successfully exhibited sufficient competence in math, reading, and writing, the child should not (by rights) be advanced to the next grade. Doing so will cause the child to be unnecessarily stressed in the next grade from having to learn new concepts before the base knowledge has been established. Such a situation can lead to all kinds of issues better left to the educational professionals. There is great similarity in the abilities of the manager in your business to the example of the school age child. Asking management to manage a business that has grown beyond their ability is a recipe for failure.

Step 3. Perform an audit of management’s ability & capacity for growth.

 


 

Plan for Prosperity

Aspirations for growth are born out of the desire for prosperity. Both must be planned. Accidental prosperity from fortuitous growth is not sustainable.

Growth is exciting, invigorating, maybe even intoxicating…especially when growth happens systemically, systematically, and successfully.

Conduct the 3 Step Growth Audit laid out above to evaluate your likelihood of successful growth. If you need some guidance, give me a call or email.

 

Growth Avenue

Avenues to Growth – an Introduction

There are many tactics that can be implemented to achieve growth in your business. Listing them right off the hop would be meaningless, because first we must understand your goals.

What is it you are trying to achieve in business? Why are you in business? As Michael Gerber wrote in The E-Myth Revisited, “the problem is not that the owners of small businesses don’t work; the problem is that they’re doing the wrong work.” Gerber has built a career and a successful enterprise on breaking down why most small businesses fail. In my opinion, it is summed up nicely in what Gerber calls the Fatal Assumption.

The Fatal Assumption is: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand the business that does the technical work. And the reason it’s fatal is it just isn’t true.  The technical work of a business and a business that does that technical work are two totally different things!

Michael Gerber – The E-Myth Revisited, page 13

So, if the reason you’re in business is because you are an expert at the technical work being done in your business, you may be wondering why your dreams and aspirations of growth, wealth, and freedom haven’t transpired as imagined when you took the leap.

Business is complex. There are many facets to successful business, far more than simply “doing the work.”
Understanding that is the first step.
Asking for help is the second step.

Because if you are an expert at the technical work of your business, then is it likely you’ve struggled managing the business which does that technical work.

And growth has possibly eluded you…
Or, at least the potential for growth that your industry may present?

As a former bank lender, and having had several conversations with current bankers over the last half-dozen years since I left banking, the sentiments are the same. One banker was recently describing a client, who was a good client but could be so much better, by saying, “He builds a helluva road, but can’t manage his cash to save his life.”

Change the character to either he or she, and change the activity to almost any technical work. She/He:

  • Builds a helluva road,
  • Installs a helluva wiring system,
  • Designs a helluva house,
  • Welds a helluva bead,
  • Grows a helluva crop,

…the list can go on and on.

Just doing the work will grow your business to a point, but that point is reached when you, as the owner/manager, run out of capacity.

Dr. David Kohl spoke recently in southern Saskatchewan. He described how success requires alignment of your expertise, your capacity, and your market.
Clearly, you have expertise or you would likely not be in business.
If you operate in a market that is hungry for your product or service, then growth is ready for the taking.
Is your capacity is sufficient in ALL areas that need to be covered in order to sustain growth: management, finance, reporting, staffing, logistics, facilities & equipment, etc?
(**Did you notice that facilities & equipment was found at the END of that list?  That is symbolic.)

All too often, the “technician” owners put emphasis on the facilities & equipment because that’s where their expertise is found. It’s why the “technician” owners are more apt to fail. Getting additional equipment is the easy part; managing the cash flow, bankers, and staff is the hard part.

So in this Introduction to the “Avenues to Growth”, we have described that:

  1. You need alignment of your expertise, your capacity, and your marketplace;
  2. You need clarification of your reason for being in business; and
  3. You must define your business goals.

Plan for Prosperity

Over the coming weeks, we will be exploring the Avenues to Growth in greater detail. The explicit certainty in any growth plan is that growth must be intentional. Accidental growth or fortuitous growth is not sustainable unless the owners & management team conduct a postmortem on how and why the growth occured so that lessons can be learned, mistakes not repeated, and good decisions leveraged further in the future.

The other explicit certainty to growth: there are many avenues to get there, none are a straight line, and there is no “Easy Street.”

 

**The featured image is a screen shot from a Google street-view of Fort Wayne, Indiana. In a weird twist of irony, Growth Avenue in Fort Wayne is a dead end street.

Coach

Who Needs a Coach?

Muhammad Ali.

Wayne Gretzky.

Tom Brady.

Professional athletes…emphasis on “professional,” the best at what they did (do). Evoking cries of “The G.O.A.T.” which stands for “Greatest Of All Time,” these legends all used a coach.

Football teams have more coaches than they are allowed players on the field at any one time. Baseball, hockey, soccer, olympic squads, the list goes on…all have coaches.

Individual success, such as Tiger Woods, Venus Williams, Michael Phelps, even many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, all use a coach. One of the best, if not the best coach of corporate executives, Marshall Goldsmith, uses a coach himself.

Right now, I have three. Each has a specific purpose, yet they compliment each other in how I benefit from having them. This does not include the advisers I use for accounting, legal, investments, or insurance where the number then increases to more than ten.

Back to the professional athlete, who is so skilled at what he or she does that they make a living doing it (and a exceptionally good living at that.) If you’re already top of your game, what good is a coach? If that were true, then everyone at the top of their game (see a small sample list above) would have fired their coach. Just because we might be at the top of our game doesn’t mean there is no longer room for improvement. None of us is perfect.

Can you and your business benefit from a coach? What aspects of your business could use some coaching?

Efficiency: is your efficiency all it could be? The old adage that I lean on is “You don’t know what you don’t know”, so is the perspective from an expert a worthy pursuit?
Finance: this relates to banking, borrowing, and investing. Is your approach more reactive to these important facets of your business, or do you regularly analyze your situation to proactively position you and your business? I couldn’t tell you how often I’ve seen something as simple as monthly account fees going totally unmonitored and therefore costing 2-3x what would be charged if a regular review was done.
Growth: this can take so many forms; I could write a book! Growth is not just about size and scale, there are many ways to grow (both personally and business.) If growth is your desire, considering how varied and complex growth can be, having a growth coach can save hours of stress, create multiples of efficiency, and help avoid pitfalls along the way.

The list is almost endless: from technology and social media to HR and governance/policy development, there is an expert available who is willing to help you take your business to new heights.

Plan for Prosperity

It is not reasonable to expect that you, as an entrepreneur and business owner, can know everything related to the successful operation, sustainability, and life-cycle of your business. And yet, considering that your business is the driver of your family’s lifestyle and a big part of your legacy, it is tragic to leave to chance so much of what is critical to business success.

Do what you do best, and get help for the rest.™

-Kim Gerencser

The quote above is a major cornerstone of my advisory work with clients, that’s why I’ve trademarked it. It’s been said that we can spend our entire lives trying to improve on our weaknesses and all we’ll end up with are a bunch of strong weaknesses. Whereas if we leveraged our strengths, the potential they create can grossly overshadow the drawbacks of any weaknesses…especially if we leverage others whose strengths are in the areas of our weaknesses.

 

 

balance sheet

Balanced View of the Balance Sheet

Like any piece of business information, the balance sheet is only as useful as the quality and accuracy of the information presented in it. In my experience, the balance sheet either gets too much emphasis or not enough. Too much when a business is not profitable, but always falls back on “Well we (they) have strong equity.” Too little when a young business is in high growth phase and is focused on nothing more than the next expansion opportunity, usually at all costs.

The construction of a balance sheet is quite simple: assets on the left, liabilities plus owner’s equity on the right. As the name implies, the two sides must balance. So when liabilities are greater than the assets, there is negative equity. Yes, you can have negative equity, but not for long unless you have an incredibly patient banker.

When describing the instances above where the balance sheet gets too much emphasis, the focus is clearly on the bottom half of the balance sheet, specifically the long term assets & long term liabilities and the owner’s equity. The equity is usually provided by appreciation of long term business assets, and if the equity is built almost solely on that and not retained earnings (net profit from operations) then there is definitely too much emphasis put on the bottom half of the balance sheet, namely equity.

The top half of the balance sheet is where most of the trouble starts. The top half is where we find the current assets and current liabilities; the difference between the two is working capital. Current liabilities have grown to dangerous levels from ever increasing loan and lease payments, cash advances, and trade credit. When current liabilities exceed current assets, you have negative working capital.

If your balance sheet has negative equity and negative working capital, you are the definition of insolvent, and the next phone you make is likely 1-800-AUCTION.

Ok, so there is equity on your balance sheet, more than enough to cover off the negative working capital. A patient and understanding lender might be willing to help you tap into that equity to “recapitalize” the business.  Do that once if you need to. By the time you’ve gone to that well two or three times, you’re likely closer to needing the classifieds to find a job rather than the next deal on equipment.

Equity doesn’t pay bills. Cash does.

Why punish your cash and working capital by rushing debt repayment to create equity?

Plan for Prosperity

The next time you catch yourself, or anyone else for that matter, leaning hard on the bottom of the balance sheet, namely the equity portion, think long and hard about why the focus is not balanced between the top half and bottom half of the balance sheet.

Not only do the left and right sides of the balance sheet need to balance, but so does the top and bottom.

Contrast

Contrast

Did you ever wonder how so much expansion is going on during what is supposedly challenging economic times?

In this part of the world, in fact in this part of Canada, we are experiencing economic growth that is far less than we’ve enjoyed over the last decade. Government spending has been reduced provincially, and the federal government deficit has grown exponentially; we were teased with drastic changes to our federal business income tax structure; we’re paying higher levels of consumption tax; unemployment has grown; overall confidence has declined.

And yet, we continue to see businesses growing, we see new construction in housing, commercial, and industrial levels, consumers continue to buy new cars and take vacations. On Boxing Day, my thermometer read -32 Celsius but there was a line up outside the doors of the Visions Electronics store prior to their 6am opening. How tough can these times really be?

Notwithstanding the socio-economic challenges that our society faces (none of which I am trying to discount here), behavior would indicate that the “tough times” aren’t as tough as we’re being led to believe.

Contrast the difference between 2 businesses in the same industry: both make widgets, both have sales forces, both face the same challenges of staying relevant in the sleepy industry of widget production.

Company A wants to corner the market and pursues a mission of expansion that leans hard on the idea that “bigger is better,” and expecting it to lead to greater efficiency, sales, and profits. Company A increases debt and increases cash flow spending on capital assets, technology, and marketing to fuel its expansion aspirations.

Company B recognizes the truth in the adage “Innovate or die.” While the widget production industry is sleepy, Company B knows that the status quo is not sustainable. Five years ago, Company B developed a 5 year plan to position itself to be an innovator in widget production. It carefully managed margins and cash flow so as to create a “war chest” of resources.

Which company is building a new production facility in 2018? Which company is at risk of losing not only its market share, but its best people,  to its competitor? Which company will blame the tough economic times for the decline of its business?

The best businesses, and it doesn’t matter which industry they are in, the best businesses plan. They plan for cycles, growth, innovation, and the unforeseen (like the 4 D’s: death, divorce, disability, disagreement.) Businesses that do not plan leave themselves at the mercy of the market, the fickle nature of consumerism, or “tough economic times.”

Plan for Prosperity

Planning, in and of itself, does not guarantee prosperity. Even execution of the best plan does not guarantee prosperity. But in contrast to your competitors who do not plan, who make decisions based on short term perspective and emotion, or who are happy just floating along, there is a clear and obvious line separating the grain from the chaff.

Which side of that line do you want to be on?

Reflection

Reflection

We are now bombarded with headlines, columns, and blurbs about how this is the time to pause and look back over the last year. What went well? What didn’t? Blah, blah, blah…

If you’re not doing this throughout the year, not just now in late December, I have to ask, “Why the hell not?” Do you think a hockey team plays the entire game without checking the scoreboard and the clock regularly? They would be quite surprised to have the final buzzer go off only to find they were losing the game and didn’t make any adjustments that could have led to a win…

No, this column is not like the others that suggest you look back and give thanks. That is, however, good advice and a wonderful practice to follow.

This column suggests that you look for your reflection. It can be seen in places we don’t always look until much time has past, which often leads to difficulty making sufficient adjustments (Ref. the hockey team described above.) Here are a few places where you’ll see your reflection, if you look…

Your Children

As a young man, I was told regularly that I was very much like my dad, right down to the way I walked and talked. I took that as a compliment because I really looked up to my dad. As I matured as a man, I began to see some of his shortcomings and decided I didn’t want to be a mirror of him but a better version instead. I try to emulate his virtues and learn from his faults so that I can be the best dad I can for my two young daughters.

I see strong reflections of myself in my children, especially my oldest. She has perfectionist tendencies, wants to do right by everyone, and is incredibly well spoken for her age. All are qualities I’ve been told would aptly describe me as a toddler. Those might be her worst qualities because on the other end of the spectrum, she has the most beautiful soul: caring, generous, forgiving…I could go on and on. I’ve learned that perfection kills progress and am working on improving my perfectionist tendencies every day. Now I need to learn how to teach her what I’ve learned in this regard.

Your Business

As a solo-preneur, (that’s the phrase I’ve coined to describe me and everyone else who is a solo entrepreneur) I am my business; I am everything in it and for it, from creating and executing the marketing plan to opening the mail. If I’m not working my business, my business is idling in neutral.

In businesses with a team, be that team a family or arm’s-length employees, the team will be an indirect reflection of you as the leader. A motivated and conscientious team is a reflection of an appreciative and fair leader. An apathetic and truant team is a reflection of a harsh and impatient leader.

However, it matters not whether our business is a team or a solo, the drive towards success that is seen in our businesses is a direct reflection of us, the leaders. Our level of engagement in the moving towards our big picture, long term goals will correlate almost perfectly to the results we achieve. My engagement in my business has been challenged in the last half of 2017 as I dealt with a difficult personal issue, and the results show it.

Your Circle

People tend to gravitate to other people of their ilk. It’s natural. Is your circle of friends & contacts positive and optimistic, or negative and pessimistic? By surrounding ourselves with other just like us, we risk getting caught up in an echo chamber where our perspective is never challenged and will never change.

To Plan for Prosperity

Reflection is more apparent than we might think. Yet it is often difficult to recognize. And despite all this, typically the best tool to settle the challenges in business is a mirror.

 

**Credit Where Credit is Due
Last week we shared again that “Cash Isn’t King, It’s the ACE!” This was first heard from Phil Symchych of Symco & Co. management advisors symcoandco.com  and we didn’t provide proper citation or acknowledgement. For this, we apologize. Phil has been a great friend & advisor and we look forward to continued success.

 

Cash Growth and Misplaced Priorities

Cash, Growth, and Misplaced Priority

It’s been said many times by many pundits that “cash is king.” If you are a regular reader of my weekly commentary, you’ll know that I am not one who abides by that line of thinking because Cash Isn’t King. It’s the ACE!

However, GROWTH is King!

Growth is King and Cash is the Ace. What a tandem! It’s no wonder that in Texas Hold ‘Em poker, an Ace-King is known as “Big Slick.”

Recall that growth is not just about size and scale. Growth takes many forms; successful businesses “always grow, and grow all ways.”

The misplaced priority is when business pursues growth (expansion) at all costs, when it puts growth (expansion) above cash. I’ve seen businesses “grow” themselves to the brink of bankruptcy…

In an effort to spread out overhead costs, many businesses are driven to scale up. If rapid expansion is undertaken while in a weak financial position, the business has just been weakened further.

Cash is required to support any expansion plans. Expanding will not fix an insufficient cash position.

To Plan for Prosperity

Expansion plans must be carefully drawn up to ensure sufficient resources are available to support the goal. Expanding with insufficient resources, especially cash, can accelerate the decline of your business.

 

Top Shelf

Top Shelf

Top Shelf.

It’s a phrase best known for describing the highest quality wines, spirits, and liqueurs.  Those who produce such fine beverages are known to maintain unwavering quality in their attention to detail, ensuring that each bottle meets the highest standard for which they’ve become known. Connoisseurs know which brand is “top shelf” by its reputation.

Same can be said for restaurants. At a client reception, I witnessed great care from our service staff to ensure every order was correct, on time, and to their diner’s expectations (even better to be above those expectations.) The entertainment factor was brought into play during desserts when special coffees that donned towering flames were prepared right in front of us. Everyone had a wonderful time, and the tip showed our appreciation.

“Top Shelf” is synonymous with quality. This moniker can be applied to almost anything from cars to clothes to food or to service. We all aspire to enjoy something “top shelf” once in a while.

Of course, top shelf does not matter to all people all the time. Some things in life just need to be economical. Would you pay $5 for a can of “top shelf” soda pop from a boutique brand when you can drink Coke or Pepsi for under $2? It’s unlikely you’d get in line to pay premium rates on your electricity bill, and no one would choose to pay $15 per pound for bologna…”top shelf” or not.

The contrast is determining where we will settle for “economical” and where we desire “top shelf.” In the commodity business, and yes if you produce grains or livestock you are in the commodity business, it is easy to get into a pattern of “everything economical.” This is because you sell the commodities you produce at the lowest price the market is willing to pay that day…because it’s commodity! And so, that thinking permeates through your entire business driving you to search for the cheapest option: fuel, fertilizer, parts, insurance, repairs, professional services, etc. You’ll notice that equipment did not make that list; somehow equipment remains the anomaly that defies the theory of “everything economical.”

Would the management of your business be considered “Top Shelf”? If it was to be rated by experts and evaluated by professionals, how would you measure up? Are you okay with “everything economical”, or when it comes to your legacy, your family and your business, should “top shelf” be the minimum requirement?

To Plan for Prosperity

If you deserve “top shelf management” in your business then elevate your skills or seek it out externally. Relentlessly adhere to consistent “top shelf” quality in your management systems, information, and decisions. Recognize where in your business you should be “economical”…but (spoiler alert) it should not be in your management.

Like top shelf booze, you too can be known as a top shelf manager by reputation…if you develop the habit of “unwavering quality in attention to detail” just like those whose product is found on the top shelf.

FOUR HANDS MALE AND FEMALE TOAST WITH MUGS OF BEER

Milestones

This is the 150th consecutive Tuesday that I have written and shared this weekly Op-Ed piece. Thank you for reading it each week. I am humbled by the number of subscriptions you have provided.

Truth be told, I almost blew right by this milestone. There is another piece I had written that was ready to be sent. It was only when preparing to load it into the emailing program I use that number 150 came to light. This gives a good opportunity to pause and reflect.

In January 2015, I was starting from square zero by going fully independent in my business advisory practice. I left behind all of the clients and prospects I had at the time to start with a clean slate and a clear conscience.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned over the last 150 weeks.

  1. Right when you think you know something, someone comes along and blows that “knowledge” right out of the water. Hence, one of the mantras I live by: Learn, Unlearn, Relearn.
  2. Success is not defined by how big your investment portfolio is, or how large your business is. As Alan Weiss says, “There Is Always A Bigger Boat™ – stop living by other people’s standards!”
  3. The greatest limiting factor in our businesses is usually ourselves. Our businesses are limited by our vision, our fears, our aversion to the right risk, or our propensity for the wrong risk. Coincidentally, this also applies to our lives.
  4. Far too many businesses continue to make decisions with inaccurate or insufficient information at best… or with emotion & a hunch at worst.
  5. Going by behavior and attitudes, the shift from farming as a “lifestyle” to farming as a “business” still has a long way to go.

What is your milestone in business? How has your business changed over that time? What is the next milestone you see?

To Plan for Prosperity

The path is never clear, there are always obstacles that will cause you to make adjustments. It is safe to say that someone else’s path may not be best for you since it’s their path, not yours, and you’re not them. Choose your path carefully, but give yourself the freedom to choose another when necessary.

  1. Clarify your definition of success.
  2. Establish specific goals that will lead you to success.
  3. Set out tactics to achieve your goals.
  4. Prepare contingencies.
  5. Execute.

I’ve revisited that simple 5-step plan more than once in the last 150 weeks. I expect I’ll revisit it several times more over the next 150. I utilize my business advisor to help me with that process; I am walking my talk…”Do what you do best, and get help for the rest™!”

Cheers to Success!

 

CEO Labor

CEO Labor

When we put autosteer in the tractor, it was my dad who said, “This isn’t farming if you’re not driving the tractor!”

It was a frustrated colleague of mine who said, “When driving tractors is more important than running the business, we’re near the end…”

My friend, Dean Robinson, published a great piece recently on how common it is in family businesses for the owner, the boss, the CEO to “regress” from being the “entrepreneur” back to being the” technician.” While this is common in family business, it seems like an expectation in farming. What I’m getting at is that successfully running a business involves thinking and acting like a CEO, while it is assumed that running a farm means getting dirty and operating equipment with the rest of the guys and gals in the operation. We all say that “farming is a business” but actions don’t appear to support that. Here is Dean’s column in its entirety; put the words in your own context to gauge how they apply to you.

Dean Robinson header

Dean Robinson photo

EDITION 67 – WEDNESDAY 3RD MAY, 2017
______________________________________________________________
TECHNICIAN – MANAGER – ENTREPRENEUR – PART 2

In last week’s edition of Growth, we talked about the evolution from Technician to Manager to Entrepreneur and how many family business owners are regressing from Entrepreneur back to Technician.

Here’s a reminder of the five adverse effects for your family business of this regression

  1. The client exposes themselves to risk if you are doing too much of the work yourself.
  2. You are not growing if you are not communicating often enough at a higher level.
  3. You put financial pressure on the business every time you hop into the rollercoaster of chasing work, finding too much of it, doing all of it, then running out of work again.
  4. Your bank is exposed to risk if the business is too centred around you and your involvement.
  5. Your team don’t see you as a leader, so might take instructions from you, but not direction and inspiration.

The five reasons I have given you above are motivation enough to have family business owners stop and think about why you are dragging yourself back into the role of the technician. However, it is not the biggest.

The number one reason why you should not do this is that I hear too many family business owners expressing unhappiness as to how their day to day life in business is panning out. They are fed up with the constant phone calls, the poor performing staff, the rushed deadlines, the lack of time to do any form of business planning. Yet, they turn up to their business every day and do the same old thing.

Here’s my message:

Stop it! Stop it right now!

You cannot grow a business that is profitable, valuable and sustainable in the longer term if you, the Entrepreneur, are operating at the Technician level.

If you keep falling back into the Technician’s role, you should seriously stop thinking about growing your business and, instead, lower your expectations as to what you want out of life and how your family business can fund that. You should revert back to being a Man (or Woman) in a Van and have a limited customer base that you focus on.

Now, if lowering your expectations is not on the cards, you need to think about what you need to do to ensure you not only put yourself back in the Entrepreneur’s role, but engage the three point racing harness and stay there.

There is an important element to locking yourself into the role of the Entrepreneur. I am yet to see a family business owner that can do this alone. As a family business owner, you need someone alongside you who:

  1. Challenges you.
  2. Forces you to think differently.
  3. Encourages you when you make progress.
  4. Pulls you back on track when you deviate.
  5. Supports you in your journey.

As the owner of a family business, you have complete control over the direction of your family business. However, because you are at the top of the tree in your organisation, most people don’t question you, the decisions you make or the direction you take. Which is why at times, the direction is forward, at others it is round and round, and at others still, it is backwards.

Having someone from outside your business perform this role creates:

  1. Accountability.
  2. A sense of reporting to a higher authority.
  3. A measure of progress.
  4. A degree of perspective.

Do you have someone in your family business life that is working alongside you so that you stay in the role of the Entrepreneur?

 

This Week’s Tip

“If you as the Entrepreneur, keep regressing back into the Technician role, your life will only get much, much busier as your business grows. More work for the business means more work for you personally. Which means less time for yourself and your family. What’s your choice?”

 

ABN 77 613 885 859
PO BOX 533, CAMDEN NSW 2570
(02) 4654 5000 – 0409 207 969
DEAN@DEANROBINSON.COM.AU
DEANROBINSON.COM.AU

 

Copyright © 2017 Dean Robinson Group PTY LTD, All rights reserved.

 

To Plan for Prosperity

The risks that Dean highlighted in his column should provide adequate reason to pause and reflect. Operating at a technician level (as labor) does not afford the CEO adequate opportunity to develop and execute his or her vision. Short term decisions get made from a technician’s perspective which have long term effects that are not given sufficient consideration because the CEO’s chair remains vacant…because the CEO is running equipment and not the business.

Maybe if farm CEOs spent more time in the office and less time in equipment their equipment costs wouldn’t be so high…?