As a business coach, my mantra to my clients is that you must make your business to be able to run without you in order for you to have something to sell. In fact, the slogan for Empower Business Solutions is:
I have helped a number of businesses do just that. But I always felt guilty when saying this, because my business was still totally dependent on me! How can I preach one thing but do another. But it was more than that. I desired my own business to run without me. I did not start up a business just to end up as a bitter and twisted sole trader. I always had a plan to make my business less dependent on myself. To create an asset that would give me a good income. One which would allow me to work less, not more.
The first step was to have an assistant. The actual step of finding someone who I could trust and depend on, was for me fairly strait forward. I now work with a lady whom I have known for a number of years and have grown to admire for her organisational skills. But the biggest step was making the commitment to bring someone into my business, to see behind the veil, warts and all!
But I did it, and have not regretted it for an instant. My struggle now is on a daily basis to take more off my plate and to transfer it to hers. But every time I sit in front of a client, I am constantly reminding myself I have to do more.
However, even if I was able to reduce my work to pure Brain Surgery, there was a limit to my growth. When I deliver my service, I spend my time directly with my clients. I spend hours per month with each of my clients. And there are only so many hours in the day I can sell. So I needed a way to change my business model.
The obvious ways are firstly to increase my prices, which I was able to do as I was getting a large amount of enquires from people who wanted my services. But at some point, there is price resistance, and you need to spend more effort on marketing. This is when you hit your marketing sweet spot. (Watch out for a future article on that.) You can also look at ways of reducing the hours you spend on each client, but in the end, this is just increasing your effective hourly rate and can compromise your service.
Both of these options were basically just a continuation of the same business model at higher rates. And it was not going to allow me to achieve my objective of making more money by working less. So my search began for different business models that would help me achieve that goal.
When you create a new business, you must have in your mind some motivator, which might at first be very vague. My motivator was to create a business that could run without me. But that motivator allows you to find a direction for your business and a reason to follow it. Once you have identified your direction your motivation will compel you to achieve your objective.
What is your primary motivator?
The next article in this Diary of a New Business will be: The Business Model.