When the business you’ve built is just a job
Don’t look where you fell, look where you slipped is a favourite African Proverb.
Listen to this podcast from The Money Show where Pavlo Phitidis unpacks why this resonates with him in regard to many business owners he works with:
It came to life after 2 consultations with 2 different business owners today.
The first business owner, in his 50’s has built a remarkable business in a commoditised market. With a $30m annual revenue, he has generated a solid income for himself and the partners. They now want to monetise their 32 years of investment and risk through a sale. This would allow them to enjoy the capital gain that would be their greatest wealth generating instance. But the market does not see their value. After a due diligence from a prospective acquiror, it was evident that the partners hold and own relationships that are responsible for 56% of annual revenue. The uncertainty that these relationships would remain in play after they sold, led to the acquiror discounting their asking price by a hefty 60%.
The second business owner in the security sector is in his late 30’s. Over the last 5 years he has built a very smart, tech-based solution for the eventing industry. Specifically, it is suited to big entertainment, sports, and political events. Recently, his business took off. But his clients, on the back of big, medium-term contracts, insist on his presence at the events, even though he needn’t be there for the service to function and perform. He wants to work with Aurik to resolve this problem. We’ve agreed to help. It’s a problem we have solved many times before. Today was the third postponement of our first session. But the news, like last time, is all good. He is overwhelmed. Having just signed on 3 new stadia and bidding with a high likelihood of success for the Olympics, he urgently has to deal with client needs. Urgent, but how important? This path will lead to the same problem faced by the first business owner – is the business an asset or is it a job?
Starting and building a business needs you at its core. It’s you that needs to learn what works and what doesn’t and through that, find a path to establishment and growth. Transiting from your daily direct leadership to a team then becomes essential. This is where many fail and 5,10,20 years on, still remain front and centre of the businesses sustainability or growth. So how do you get it right? And when should you act to get it right?
How do you get it done?
- Simplify – narrow the scope of your business both in terms of who your customers and clients are as well as the extent of the services you provide to solve their problems. A simple business is scalable and a scalable business is a growth business.
- Systematise – translating and articulating the activities you perform in how you market, sell and service your clients into teachable activities, organised into a sequence with measured outcomes is next. Once done, linking and stitching them into a single system or experience from the view of your customer is vital.
- Delegate – with your business organised into a single system, made up of the many activities, you can now empower your team to perform the activities. Remember, the activities generate the experience, not your personality. If you cannot get it done, discard that element of the experience and make do with what you can get done.
- Grow – with a scalable platform for growth in place, growing beyond where you currently are needs to be led by you. Setting a framework for growth that maintains the scalable service platform you have now built is essential. Failing to do so unwinds all the effort and will see you again, front and centre of the business, or put differently, the job you have built.
When should you start?
Once you have traversed the first 3-5 years of start-up, the time to transfer relationships, processes and responsibilities becomes essential. Should you opt not to or fail to do so successfully, you are building a job, not an asset. You limit the scope of your business’s potential, limit the opportunities to attract driven team members and fail your own future wealth creating instance.
Urgent and important are different. Urgent mostly means that you are being led by other people’s agendas. A client must be responded to. But you have full control over which clients you have, the promises that are made and how you build your business to operate without you. That’s the important, strategic, structural stuff of turning a job into an asset. Put differently, building a business that can be successfully sold in the future to become your greatest wealth generating instance.