I help most of my clients transition from DOER to MANAGER to ENTREPRENEUR to INVESTOR. However, it’s difficult to get most business owners to let go of DOING…. until I ask them to create a vision of what they want their company to be in 10-years; and what role they will have in their company at this milestone. Most will say they want to create a business to earn income for their family and grow to a point they can sell or leave to someone else. When they create their 10-year vision, they say they want to continue to work in their business, but be able to take a vacation and spend time outside of the business. And yet, in the present, they are spending more and more time in their business as their business grows.
I want to share what a vision may look like for a typical small business owner. They say they want to have a company of 30-employees that serves multiple regions providing amazing services to their customers. They say they want to be earning $500,000 per year in net profits with revenues in excess of $10,000,000. They want to be able to take 2-months of vacation without their absence impacting the operation of their business.
This vision includes a company of 30-employees. It’s standard practice to assign 1 manager for each 6-employees. If you do the math, this 30-employee organization will most likely need 1-CEO; 4-Managers; and 25-workers. In most cases, the business owner would like to play the role of CEO.
In order to grow the company in this fashion, the business owner must transition from DOER to MANAGER and then to ENTREPRENEUR. Almost without fail, my clients resist this transitioning process. The objections I from my clients vary. Some will deny that their employees need management. Others will claim they can play multiple roles throughout the organization because they have the ability to do so. Still others will claim they don’t want to be relegated to a stuffy desk job in their own company. Still others claim that their company is different and it needs to be much flatter than other companies to keep costs down.
This vision includes annual revenues in excess of $10,000,000 with over $500,000 in annual profits. The nature of profits and revenues are somewhat tricky. Many business owners feel like they can make more money by controlling costs and growing sales. And yet, the most profitable companies in existence today have invested quite heavily in creating an organizational structure that can deliver impeccable quality at a reasonable cost. You see, you cannot get a company to earn high profits without a well-operating business machine; and you don’t get a well-operating business machine without putting the people in the right places with the right support.
When I coach business owners about the necessity to plan and organize the creation of their money making machine, they shut down. Most business owners are so busy trying to survive, they feel like it’s futile to make a business plan. They fail to create a pricing structure that will yield a profit; and fail to create a compelling value proposition to prospective clients as well; and so they never reach their dream of high revenues and high profits.
The vision includes a concept of being able to create a self-sustaining business that they can leave if they want and it will continue to make money while they’re absent. After all, why create a money making business machine, if you don’t have time to enjoy the money you have earned? Many business owners start a business because they feel they are overworked and underpaid as employees. They’re shocked to learn they are paid even less and work harder as their own boss.
One of the first areas I coach my clients is in time management. I have them list all of the activities they typically do in a week. I then ask them to tell me what they would pay a person to do that task for them. My business owner clients are shocked to learn how little they are earning as a business owner. Even so, they’ll typically tell me they cannot afford to hire additional help. They claim, “I work for free, but I’ll have to pay someone else to do this job.” They believe that there will be some point in their business ownership journey where they save up enough money to hire more people, but that time never comes; and they stay overworked and underpaid; until they give up on their business and decide to become an employee again.
Symptoms of a Visionless Business
Most business owners believe their vision is good enough. They’ll give me some goals they are working toward. Or they will say what they WANT to happen with their business some day. Or they’ll claim they just want things to stay the same as they are today with maybe a few more sales.
The fact is that they have little to no vision; and that behavior is costing them dearly. Their business will constantly struggle getting new customers because they fail to articulate a compelling value proposition. They will struggle to build a self-sustaining and high-performance team because they keep usurping their employee’s roles. High talent employees will leave; while deadbeats will stay. And so perpetuates the cycle of the Visionless Business.
How Does Coaching Help?
As we plug along in life, we are often blind to the TRUTH of our thoughts and actions. We create stories that have worked for us, and we fully believe we are headed in the right direction. When we end up in a place that we never intended, we will say, “the economy was bad”; or “I had unreliable employees.” or “the bank wouldn’t loan me enough money” or “my customers just don’t get it” or “competition is too strong in my industry”. Without knowing your business at all, I can tell you that every statement I just listed is UNTRUE.
Coaches help you see the TRUTH of your thoughts and actions and help you create a path forward regardless of your physical situation. Business Coaches can help you understand a path to success that you have not been seeing on your own. Coaches will not tell you what to do, but they will allow you to see clearly enough to be able to plot a much more reliable course toward success. You simply cannot see this TRUTH on your own. That’s why I have a business coach. I am no different than you… I have limiting beliefs and thoughts that prevent me from moving forward; and would not do what I do without my coach…. neither should you.
As a business coach, I offer several different business educational programs and individual coaching to business owners who want to flourish. If you’ve never tried coaching, I’d be glad to give you a taste of what you’re missing. Simply complete the contact form below, and we can set up a complimentary coaching session.
Note from the Author
My name is Jeff Schuster. I am a certified Life and Business Coach serving small business owners, corporate executives and others who want to transition from “expert” to “entrepreneur”. I have been a small business owner for most of my 30-years in the workplace. I grew an energy efficiency and renewable energy engineering and construction company from nothing to over $10-million/year and sold it in 2013. I now help other business owners make amazing progress toward their own dreams of business ownership independence and success.