Content originally taken from eBella Magazine, “Think Big” by Kelly Townsend
When you’re a small business owner, it’s easy to get into a rut. Year after year, a great majority of small business owners work harder and harder, but never grow their business as a long-term investment vehicle.
Small business owners tend to be great at sales or really great with people.When they start the business, the owner generates enough sales to hire more employees. But they don’t understand why it is that when they’re attracting more business and hiring more staff, they aren’t seeing profits increase.
Over time, the small business owner gets buried in the every day minutia, so much so that they put future planning on the back burner — along with training and developing staff. They find it hard to let go of many aspects of the business they believe are the reason for the lack of profitability. They use the excuse, “Nobody can do the job as well as I do,”
In this scenario, whatever responsibility the owner does give away to staff becomes more of a quick handover, rather than a training process. So when the task employees attempt isn’t successful (and how can it be without proper training?), the owner is once again justified that no one does it better than they do. Does this scenario sound familiar?
I’ve seen it many times over with my clients. It’s a vicious cycle that keeps the “small” in small business.
Break the Small Business Mentality
What business owners don’t realize is that they’re stuck in a small business mentality. They’re the hero who does everything and does it better than anyone else. But there’s an enormous consequence to this kind of thinking — a loss of enthusiasm about their business, and a loss of vitality and satisfaction.
How do you break through this vicious cycle? First, the small owner who lives this kind of life needs to acknowledge that their thinking is driving the behavior that actually limits business growth. The small business owner needs to take on a big business context.
How do you do that?
Try creating a big business owner perspective. Explore and engage from this world. Create relationships with people who have successful big businesses, so that you can learn how they think, plan and act as big business owners. Many people think this is somehow a cold way to run a small business, but this perspective will keep you creating future growth for your business. It will alter the way you look at your business.
Over the years, I’ve learned two important lessons from big business owners. First, think of your business as an investment vehicle. This is key to creating a revenue-producing machine over time that does not require you, the owner, to be in the office day in and day out. I suggest finding someone who can support you in always knowing the finances of your business. You cannot plan without knowing where you are.
Most small business owners can be short-sighted and siphon money from their business profits for their personal use. Determine your paycheck and stick to it.
Secondly, create a business that can operate without you. Business owners should want to empower their employees, give them responsibilities and hold them accountable. Someone who is growing a business should constantly look to take themselves out of the equation and develop systems that can be recreated. Have a system in place for everything and cross train your staff so your business does not miss a beat, no matter who is there. Along the way, be sure to create performance measures for all of your employees; and promote and create growth and development opportunities to enhance their individual performance. Not only do you want to know what your numbers are, but you want to know how your people are doing. It is really important to measure an employee’s individual performance no matter what their role in the company.
When you think big, there can be big rewards. I hope you take on creating this new context and turn your small business into a big business.