Choice is the Ultimate Freedom
I was lucky enough to deliver a seminar at the excellent Business Connected event in Southend the other day. I had a 15 minute slot in which to deliver an abridged version of our “Escape the Owners Trap” seminar. It was a great challenge and one I enjoyed thoroughly! The audience were excellent and it was nice to make some new connections from the session. One business owner that I spent a bit of time talking with really embraced the theme of the event and vowed to take on board one of the key messages from the presentation – that developing a business that has a measurable value without the constant reliance on the owner to be an intrinsic part of the operation brings the ultimate freedom. That of choice. Whether you wish to be able to sell your business, pass it on to staff or family, grow it in scale so that can be less dependent on key customers or suppliers or simple develop it into a continual income stream when the time to step back and retire arrives there are a number of simple steps you can follow to help you along that journey. These include:-
- Do everything you can to make the process of learning the key skills to deliver your products or services as easily transferrable to new staff as you can. A profitable business that can be easily taken over by a non-expert has a wider market of potential buyers or can be more easily passed on for others to run for you.
- Make sure that you truly delegate responsibility appropriately within your organisation. A friend of mine has run his business for about twenty years now, and turns over a not too insignificant revenue measured in double figure millions yet still says the selling stops when he goes away on holiday. That is a sign that you may be in the owners trap and at minimum would suggest some training or process change is needed to make the sales team more effective and self-sufficient! If you can avoid being the only person that makes decisions, you have a business that is becoming independent of you.
- Try to increase the commitment and loyalty in your customer base. If someone is looking to buy a business purely from a financial perspective, then it is quite understandable that they would look more favourably on a profit stream that is made of regular and committed payments versus one that consists of the same monetary value in one off non-recurring purchases. As one of my previous clients said to me, it is good to know that all my overheads are covered, every month, before we even look to start selling more of our services to new clients. So the habit of gaining a level of commitment from your customers to continue to spend regularly with you is a good one whatever your ultimate objective for your business might be.
We received some great feedback after the presentation, which is always nice to hear. But the most pleasing thing was that a few people were moved to take some actions immediately to start their journey to the ultimate freedom. The freedom to choose to run their business on their terms and not the other way round!
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