Over the last fifteen years working with and advising successful business owners I have found that a common feeling is that so many have just fallen out of love with their business.
The buzz and excitement of the early days of building and then growing the business is replaced by the day to day grind of …well just doing. It becomes humdrum and repetitive. The income is good, the trappings (the house, car and occasional holiday) have become the norm but where has the buzz gone?
What has happened to the energy and drive?
I have found that people start their own businesses for many reasons but all can be distilled down to the need for security. To secure their lifestyle, their future and the future of their family. But once that has been achieved then what?
Again there are many answers to this question and I have no intention of going into the meaning of life. Still trying to work out that one myself!
However, what I have learnt is that what most business owners want is freedom.
Freedom of choice, freedom of actions, freedom of how to spend their time, freedom to pursue their life dreams, freedom to just go off and play golf when they want without feeling guilty! (The last one is a real life example from last week).
So what is it that stops so many business owners from achieving their freedom?
What I see over and over again is that their business has grown over the years and has become stuck between two levels. The four key drivers of the business (time, team, money and delivery) are out of balance and the overwhelming pressure is for the business to consolidate back to the underlying level below. This is covered in Chapter 7 of ‘The Levels’.
It’s natural for the owner to justify the hours they work and the stress they are under as normal or that it is the price to pay for owning your own business. Commonly they tell me they just can’t find good people, that their workforce is lazy and won’t step up to the challenge whilst complaining that they themselves are working harder and longer hours just to stand still. Interestingly, ignoring the fact that their income is actually falling in real terms year on year. The business is slowing before sliding backwards. Potentially on a slippery slope.
But there is another way.
Here are few ideas to get started.
Look at the business through fresh eyes. It is time to take stock. Do a simple SWOT analysis on the business (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).
List the imbalances and think how they can be bought back into balance.
Start to look for the good things in the business. Get the mental juices flowing again.
Fall back in love with the business as that is the road to change and then freedom.
You will be amazed what will happen when you fall in love with your business.
Let me know what happens.