Do you remember the strange mixture of fear and excitement that you felt when you started your business?!
Please tell me I am not all alone here…
I have always enjoyed the startup phase of a new business. It is fun to get all of the pieces in place and to chase down the new clients. This honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever and you end up in one of two places. Most entrepreneurs fail within a few years for the simple fact that they overspend and fail to generate sufficient cash flow. For those of you who make the cut, congratulations!
It’s too bad that simply “making the cut” isn’t going to ensure your success in the long-term. The people who read this blog and listen to our podcast want more out of their life and their business than that anyways. The purpose of going into business for yourself is to grow beyond just yourself and scale. Eventually, you will get that time freedom that everyone desperately dreams about.
If not, stop reading now, this is not for you! For the folks who do build a successful business, how will you know if and when it is time to scale up your company? The answer to this question is a very important one and it can be difficult to work through on your own. For this reason, I have identified 5 signs that will tell you that your business cannot survive without you plugged into it, 24/7. By the way, if any of these signs point to you it will tell you that it is time to start hiring employees and/or contractors to assist you in your scaling efforts. Another reason that a sign may point to you is that you are a control freak and you just don’t know it yet, but you soon will. You have my personal guarantee on this one!
Sign #1: You are the only point of contact for your company.
This is an obvious one, but if you are a solo operation, your business cannot survive without you! The exception to this is an internet based business that relies on sales funnels, landing pages, and complete automation. For everyone else, if you ARE the business, then obviously you will stay plugged in whether you are working or not. This is how a majority of small businesses get started, but it is impossible to stay this was forever and scale to a larger organization. There are only 168 hours in a week, so everyone has their physical limits. Trust me, I regularly test this and wake up face down on my keyboard.
Sign #2: No one can make decisions without your approval. (Hint: You are a control freak!)
The purpose of building a team is to create a synergy of different skill sets, perspectives, and ideas. To create lasting engagement among your employees or contractors, you must give them the ability to “own their process” and exercise independent decision making. If you fail to do this, several things will happen. For one, your people will hate you and just quit. They will go find more meaningful work elsewhere. Secondly, you will have to remain attached to your business at all times because you insist on treating everyone like a child! If you can’t trust your people within their roles, you have the wrong people working for you. Hire people that seem trustworthy. As soon as you lose their trust, cut them loose and try again.[Tweet “If you can’t trust your people within their roles, you have the wrong people working for you.”]
Sign #3: You have no plan, processes, or set ways to do anything that anyone but you can figure out.
You know you and how you roll…but, everyone else just sees complete chaos when they see what you do. Remember this and that will help to explain the twisted faces you see on everyone around you. There has got to be some logic with your basic sales, customer service, and communication processes or no one else is going to be able to follow your steps. It’s like writing a book in a language that you made up and then expecting it to make Amazon’s best selling list. If you haven’t laughed out loud once by now, have your pulse checked by a qualified professional. Seriously.
Sign #4: You undermine every decision and action that your people make. (Another hint: Control freak!)
When you allow people to make decisions, there is a valuable process that takes place. Each decision leads to an outcome and then that outcome is categorized as favorable or a fail. This is also known as learning from actual life experience. There is a great benefit to doing things because then you can gauge your effectiveness, as an example. When you undo and redo everything that your people do, you are stripping them of the ability to benefit from the actual life experience. This reaffirms my conviction of your “control freakedness” and will drive your team out the front door! This suppresses the growth of your business and all the creativeness that should be coming out of it.
Sign #5: The “project” that you call a business doesn’t actually generate any revenue!
All businesses begin as startups and the length of time that it takes to generate income can vary greatly. The real problem exists when you consider your personal money as “income” and you are okay with this as a long-term strategy. If your personal contributions go away, your business dies immediately. When you are getting started, remember to start with the end in mind and work hard to track down clients and leads. The best way to get out of a slump or to initially get going is to sell through it. Make your obsession promoting your business, chasing down potential business, and don’t be afraid to consider new income streams.[Tweet “Be obsessed. Promote your business. Chase down potential business. Don’t be afraid to consider new income streams.”]
Although a week from now, you may not recall every word of this blog you may remember the way that it made you feel. Hopefully, you had a laugh or two, while picking up a few valuable points throughout the process. Here is the grand takeaway: Don’t be a control freak! Your business cannot survive if you are.
Leave a message in the comments if you have something to say about this!