Years ago I met a very successful entrepreneur who only had an 8th grade education. “What is the secret of your business success?” I asked him.
He said he always gave his business at the table.
The turning point for him was when his lawyer incorporated his small business. As his lawyer explained the changes he had to make to his business because it was now incorporated he told my friend that his corporation was a ‘legal person.’ This legal term made a huge impact on my friend. He started treating his business just like it was truly an entity.
Decisions were made not just based on what he wanted or didn’t want, but what the business would want or not want.
He even went so far as to have weekly meetings with his growing team and actually include a chair at the table for the business. They discussed challenges and opportunities for the growing business, with everyone weighing in and then they discussed what the business would say if it had a voice. Then they discovered that the business really did have a voice. The purpose of a business is to make money and everything it has to say about that is said in the financial statements.
Here are 10 signs that you need to give your business a seat at the table
Sign #1: You use “I” when talking about what your business does. For example:
“I fix computers.”, “I sell houses.”or “I import items for resell.”
You’re saying what YOU do, not what the business does. That’s a surefire way to limit the success and growth of your business.
Sign #2: You use “my” to describe attributes of the business. For example:
“Clients call because of my ability to connect with them.”
“My dream is to empower individuals to be more successful.”
That’s all cool, but it’s all about you. When does your business get a voice?
Sign #3:The business is not growing.
If it’s all about you and not about the business, you will limit the business to your own speed. You can’t build an effective team if it’s all about you. If your business isn’t growing, it could be because it hasn’t had a chance to say what it needs to be success.
Sign #4: You have no time.
If you don’t have enough time to implement systems, work ON the business (instead of in it) or nothing seems to get done unless you are there, then there is no real business. Or if there is a business, it is dying because you’re not giving it a chance to live.
Sign #5: The business has no stats.
The voice of the business is heard in the financial statements and stats of the business. If there are no stats, or at least no current stats, then you aren’t even allowing the business to speak.
Sign #6: The business has no employees.
In the beginning, as you develop the parameters that the business will operate in, you may have no employees. But without employees, there is no business. There is just you.
Sign #7: The business successes, such as they are, are all ego-driven.
There is money in the bank, new clients coming in, bills are getting paid on time – whatever success means to you, how do you celebrate it? Is it all about “Look at what I created!” or “Without me, this company is nothing!”. If so, you don’t have a business, you have just created a business identity for yourself.
Sign #8: The business is your way of getting back at your personal losses.
We’ve all had that horrible boss that we never want to be like. But, does avoiding that boss’s tendencies mean that you really don’t run your business like a business? For example, my first CPA practice was set up simply as a way for me to escape a horrible boss. I hated working for him and so I did everything opposite of the way he would do it. Some of that was good. Some of it was bad. But NONE of it was good for the business, because I didn’t take the business’s perspective into account. My business didn’t have a seat at the table.
Sign #9: You have no sales, or not enough sales.
There’s a good chance that you have created a business based on What You Do Best and What You Love to Do. Those are two parts of the e-Center talked about in Smart Business Stupid Business, but you’re missing the 3rd part – What Does the Market Want? If people aren’t buying, it could be because they don’t understand (which means your business says it needs better promotion, marketing and selling systems) or because they don’t want or need it. In either case, you’re not listening to your business, at least not yet.
Sign #10: You’ve gone from just over broke to just under broke.
A lot of people start businesses (or what they think are businesses) because they are just barely over broke. But if they don’t give the business a voice, they will go from barely over broke, to under broke….. i.e, no money.
When are you going to give your business a seat at the table?