(Re)Shape Your Business So You’re Not Trapped Under Its Full Weight
As a franchise accelerator, we meet a lot of business owners and hear a lot of pitches to help those business owners expand their businesses through the franchise model. In order to be successful as a franchise, those businesses need to be successful, sustainable, replicable and built on systems, but often that systems piece can be challenging… why? Many businesses are built directly on the backs of their owners. Those businesses can’t run without the owner, which means they won’t work as a franchise and certainly won’t be a boon for their owners’ retirement funds.
If you and the business are fused into one, odds are you frequently feel overworked, overwhelmed and like a prisoner to your business. While your business appears successful externally, you are probably constantly stressed about keeping it all together. The business seems to run you and your life instead of you running the business. You are wearing multiple hats, juggling multiple balls and constantly fighting fires. Revenues have flattened out yet employee hassles have expanded. Your dream is taking on the dimensions of a nightmare. If that sounds like you, what went off course?
In our experience, it comes down to mindset and ego. Owners often try to be superman or superwoman. They try to hold up the entire weight of the business. Whether or not they know it, they are usually trying to be the most important person to the daily survival of the business and that limits the business, their employees, and any eventual sale. You have to flip that mindset and ego.
To eventually sell your company and build wealth, your ultimate goal is to become the least important person to the daily operations of your company. While that sounds illogical, it makes perfect sense. As an owner, you cannot afford to be at the center of every problem, every decision, every mess and every transaction. Your business, long term, cannot depend upon your presence, personality, problem solving or perspiration for its daily survival. When your company runs that way, your business does not work for you - you work for your business. And no one will want to buy that business from you – or pay much for it – to fuel your retirement (or next adventure) because the business can’t thrive without you.
You need to create an independent, self-sustaining, cash-flowing machine. Instead of having the business be dependent on you, have the business be dependent on the operations manual and simple systems you put in place. And yes, you stay uber important to the leadership, vision, culture, talent management, and high-level accountability and execution of your team, but just not important to the daily stuff. Strategic stuff? Yes. Daily stuff? No.
Basically, it works best to start with the end in mind. It is never too soon or too late to position your business to be sold, even if that transaction is years down the road. Why? Having the mindset of creating a business that is independent from you makes great sense no matter how many years you have owned it. But the key is to not limit yourself or the growth of the business by thinking and acting like you ARE the business... or the business is you. Don’t get yourself trapped.
With the proper end game in mind, you will do the right daily actions to create a customer-serving, money-making asset separate from you. It's like loving and raising your child to eventually be independent and self-sufficient from you. Same thing with your business. Give it the proper foundation and wings to fly on its own – you will enjoy the business while you own it and you will be richly blessed when you sell it. Let your business grow up too.