- Posted by Kevin
- On 21st December 2018
When I ask business owners, “What are the top 4 things stopping you from growing your business?” The answers I normally get are:
- Don’t know how.
- Don’t know which way to go.
- Not sure of the correct strategies to use.
- They are too busy and have a fear that if they slow down they might lose business (or should that be busyness?).
What most of them want is a clear path, a step by step approach, that works and allows them to have a business that can work without them.
At MPC our definition of a business is ‘A Commercial, Profitable, Saleable, Organisation that can work without you.’
In order to achieve this, they will need to work on themselves first. To be precise, they will need to work on their level of thinking by moving their way up the Philanthropist Ladder. A ladder which has eight rungs.
The first rung being:
Employee…Work for somebody else, which is a great place to be because you are effectively serving your business owner apprenticeship, whilst you are getting paid to work and to learn. The key at this level is to always be curious. If you ever get to the stage where you are not learning, it may be time to move on to pastures new because you need to learn more so that you can earn more.
The next rung is where we have what Michael Gerber called ‘Our entrepreneurial seizure.’ We have a change in circumstances; inheritance, redundancy or you might get fed up making money for someone else or just get fed up working for an idiot! So we become a business owner…or so we think.
In actual fact, we now become Self-employed…It isn’t long before you discover you have now become a juggler. You realise it is no longer just about what you do, the particular expertise you bring to the party. There are indeed a lot of other functions within the business, sales, marketing, finance, customer service, leadership, recruitment to name just a few. At this stage in your business journey, you’re number one goal maybe to put food on the table, so is it any wonder that some of these functions get dropped?
The realisation now sets in that you haven’t created a business; you have created a job and you are now working for a lunatic…yourself. A visual analogy for this could be a dog chasing its own tail you just going round and round in circles.
The next rung is Supervisor… Because of demand, you now start to employ people and (because you are still very busy) the recruitment process can be a bit of a finger in air type of appointment or you might go with GUT feeling. The problem is GUT can sometimes stand for Give Up Thinking.
Through lack of time, very little or no training is provided it is mostly on the job type stuff.
This rung can be a really stressful place to be and your own work can begin to suffer because you are now fire-fighting the mistakes of your new employees.
A new realisation sets in and a need to move up to the next rung that of Manager...Now your beginning to leverage your time via people. The key here is having clear roles and responsibilities, goals and targets for all and accountability. You will also need a clear feedback or feedforward system.
In the SME market, management is probably the biggest missing factor and prohibits the chances of making it to the next rung: Leader... There is a clear distinction between a manager and a leader and that is influence. People will follow a leader, so at this level you will have clear vision for where your business is going. The end is in mind. You will have a mission communicating how your business will reach your vision and you now have a clear set of values which will create a culture in your business that everybody is walking, talking advertisement of. Culture trumps everything in a business and every business has one. It is up to you to decide the culture and failure to do this means you are letting other people decide what the culture will be. One caveat here is that whilst leaders create followers, these followers are not there to feed the leaders ego. Great leaders grow more leaders by creating an environment where everybody can thrive, feel inspired and operate at their full potential.
And once you have a team of leaders you move up to the rung of: Owner…You have a fully systemised business that is able to work without YOU! It doesn’t have to, it just can. Your focus is very much on growth, improvement and succession. You can invest time looking for the best talent in your industry, you can also coach and mentor, your successor or a general manager.
This means you can now move up to: Investor…You now know how to build a business, you have a clear understanding of all the building blocks and you have the confidence to go out and replicate. That could be open other outlets, franchise or move into different sectors because all businesses work the same! Or you could choose to invest in property or paper assets.
Leading to the final rung: Philanthropist…Your Business(s) or investments are now providing you with plenty of residual income and you can give back to society. That can be in the form of money (if you choose) or it can be in the form of time, giving your time for free to volunteer, mentor, educate and coach other people or organisations. You have freedom of choice.
A major challenge at the lower three rungs is that you are trading your time for money, so therefore you are limiting yourself. You are putting a self-imposed glass ceiling on your potential.
Above those rungs you are leveraging through your people and you are growing your people thus enabling you to grow your business.
The difference between these rungs is the level of thinking.
It might be worth considering whether you need to think your way into a new way of acting or act your way into a new way of thinking?
To wrap up some questions you may want to consider:
- Where are you on the ladder?
- Where do you want to be?
- Where is the gap and what needs to happen to close that gap?
- Where are your team members on the ladder?
Remember: if you want your team to move up the ladder, you can’t move them unless you move first.
If you would like help moving up the ladder and becoming a better manager, leader owner feel free to get in touch.