- “Today I am going to share four practical steps you can take right now to break free from the owner’s trap and grow your business.”
- “Start with the long term. Write down what your business looks like ten years from now. Imagine yourself in that place in the future. How does it feel? How much revenue your business is making? What does your team look like? What kind of offices do you have? Have you just closed a big deal or made your numbers?”
- “Prune your business until you have a product(s) that is defendable, repeatable, scalable and teachable. Aim for one product to many customers model.”
- Join a CEO network like Vistage or EO. An environment where you can share your challenges with a peer group and learn from the lessons they have endured.
- How valuable is your business? Take 13-Minutes and instantly get your Value Builder report.
[The following is the transcript of this video. Please note that this episode, like all posts, features Jean speaking unscripted and unedited — filmed in one take. The actual video may differ in content from the script. But you’ll still get loads of value!]
Hey all, it’s Jean Moncrieff, founder of The Freedom Experience, and today I want to talk to you about something called the owner’s trap.
Have you ever felt trapped in your business? That feeling that without you, everything would just fall apart. That you’re the person, who knows the industry better than anyone else. You’re the one actively involved in creating and delivering every product and service your business sells. That customers expect to deal with you. That you’re always chasing the next deal because you’re the best salesperson in the company – in a word, you felt trapped.
Hey, I know the feeling. In my document storage business, I was designing all our products and services. I was managing a software development team. I was dealing with banks and auditors. I was running from one meeting to another looking for sales and attending to customers. And honestly, I just wanted to escape.
But I hung in there… I built a management team, I introduced systems, and ultimately the business got to a point where I could sell it.
So, if you are feeling like your business has hit a plateau, and no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to find the traction for growth. Or you feel like you have no work-life balance and you have a job, not a company. Or if you feel like you’re involved in every role, from CEO to secretary. Or if you simply feel burnt out and just want to throw in the towel… you’re very likely caught in the owner’s trap.
The good news is that you can escape. And today I am going to share four practical steps you can take right now to start breaking free from the owner’s trap and begin growing your business.
Let’s get into them!
1. Get Clarity
In the previous episode, I talked about the importance of having a vision. You know, so many business owners have a vision in their head, and that is where it remains. Write down your vision for the next 10-years, the next 5-years, the 3-years, and the coming 12 months.
“Start with the long term. Write down what your business looks like ten years from now. Imagine yourself in that place in the future. How does it feel? How much revenue your business is making? What does your team look like? What kind of offices do you have? Have you just closed a big deal or made your numbers?”
Go into detail.
Then break it down. How did you get to that point from where you are now? Work backwards. Finally, write a 12-month vision. What do things look like in precisely 12 months from now, and how do you get there — month by month, so you know what you need to do in the next 30 days.
2. Prune the Tree
Once you have clarity, you need to prune your business. I want you to think about how you can give your business room to grow. What products and services are you selling and supporting that aren’t a part of your vision? Just like an apple tree, you need to cut back some branches to give your business space to grow and flourish.
Many business owners stretch outside of their sweet spot, their bull’s eye when they start out. You tend to stretch to take on any business you can to grow the business. Perhaps you have products and services that have come about as a result of trying to be all things to all people. I bet when you started out, you scrambled about frantically for new work, taking on anything you could find.
As a result, you probably have a whole bunch of customers who aren’t in your sweet spot. And you’re trying to support and deliver too many products or services to too many people.
Prune your business until you have a product(s) that is defendable, repeatable, scalable and teachable. Aim for one product to many customers model.
Identify those items that take up most of your time but are not critical for you to do and pass them on. From payroll to purchasing and other day-to-day activities – identify those people in the business who can rise to the challenge and take on the additional responsibility. This will free up time to consider how you build your business.
Look at tasks that you undertake where you are more critical to business success, say key relationships or product knowledge, and see how you can progressively shift those responsibilities to others.
The more your business conforms to the above value drivers, the less you should be needed in the day-to-day and free from the dreaded owners’ trap. You are well on the way to creating a business of real value.
4. Ask For Help
There is a saying that goes around in entrepreneurial circles: it is lonely at the top. Perhaps, if you insist on going it alone. But if you get out there and look for some help, you’d be surprised how warm and cosy it can get up there.
Now I’m not talking about going out and asking your best friends brother-in-law who happens to do some work in an accountancy firm. Sure he might be helpful, but you need to share experiences with a peer group.
Join a CEO network like Vistage or EO. An environment where you can share your challenges with a peer group and learn from the lessons they have endured.
Find a coach. When I was struggling in my business, I hired a coach. She helped me find clarity by acting as a sounding board and having me work through my ideas. She helped me get traction by holding me accountable. Some of the most successful business owners, the likes of Steve Jobs, Larry Page, titans of the valley have coaches. Why? Because they need a sounding board, they need clarity, and they want to be held accountable.