Raising Your Business Like A Child
If you’re like most business owners, you yearn to have a business that provides you more freedom:
- freedom to decide how you spend your time
- freedom to choose who you want to work with
- freedom to avoid people who drain your energy
- freedom to make more money
However, this desire for freedom often leads owners to aspire for a bigger business, which they think will give them what they want. Unfortunately, most owners who strive for more revenue or profit as their primary goal often have:
- Less time because it’s spent managing an ever-expanding set of offerings.
- Less freedom because complexity inevitably leads to conflict.
- Less money because any available cash is reinvested in growth.
So, in many ways, growing a larger business gets you further from your ultimate goal of freedom.
Instead of thinking of your business as something to push harder and faster, there’s an alternative that may get you closer to what you want. Think of your business as a child, and your role is to guide her into becoming an independent, thriving adult.
If your goal is to create a business that can thrive without you, you will start to make different decisions. That demanding customer who wants your attention on their project no longer looks so attractive. That exciting new product that’s going to require you to sell no longer looks worth it.
By focusing on the role of parent rather than business driver, the demands on your time lessen as your employees pick up more of the load. You may also find your business selling more as you build a team of salespeople rather than relying only on yourself to drive the top line. The ultimate irony is that your business may end up being more valuable than a larger peer where the owner is still mostly responsible for sales.
Acquirers want businesses that will survive the loss of their owner. In many cases, they will pay a premium for companies where the owner is in the background.
Growing revenue and profits will be valuable to an acquirer, but if you make them your only goal, you may find yourself with less of what you want. Treat your business like a child who needs guidance to become a thriving adult, and revenue, profits, and ultimate value will come as a by-product.