Company Stuck In The Muck?
Is your business growing and giving you the results you wanted when
you first started your entrepreneurial journey? Or are you stuck in
the muck and can’t seem to get moving? As small companies begin to
grow, they get bogged down, hit challenges, and find roadblocks that
hold them back. These include lack of time, energy, money, people,
and customers. Many business owners stay paralyzed forever and can’t
let go or grow. They feel they have to make every decision and hold
tight to the controls.
The typical entrepreneurial progression:
5. Company Owner –
4. Systemized & Organized
3. Entrepreneur - Business Builder & Growing
2. Small Business Owner – Hands-on Controller &
1. Worker - Employee - Manager
Before small business owners start their companies, they’re usually
competent employees or managers doing a great job for their boss, as
shown on Level 1. They’re responsible and accountable, hard workers,
and dream about the day they can start their own company. Then it
finally happens! They get bitten by the “E” bug (“E” is for
Entrepreneur) and make a decision to go into business for
themselves. The newly minted entrepreneurs suddenly announce they
have quit their jobs to start their own companies. After the initial
shock, many ask where this new entrepreneur will find the money to
get started, attract customers, hire good employees, and pay the
bills. Without fear, the new entrepreneur says: “Don’t worry. I’ll
figure it out!”
After the entrepreneur gets infected, he starts his company and
steps up to Level 2 as a small business owner. Here he is in charge
of every decision and fully in control of every moving part of the
company. He supervises every little item, transaction, customer,
proposal, invoice, vendor, and employee. He is the business and
without him, there is no business.
Bill started his successful manufacturing business seven years ago.
It grew quickly to $1 million in sales with fifteen employees. Then
it stopped growing and his profits began to shrink. He was stuck at
Level 2. When his company was smaller, it was easier for him to act
as the ringleader, process the work flow, and meet with customers to
keep them happy. But now he had to work harder and harder to keep
his company above water.
Bill was frustrated and needed help. While he had managers and key
employees, he didn’t delegate much responsibility. He was still
approving every estimate, purchase, shipment, order, and personnel
move. When he started his company, he had time to find new
customers, manage the work, and make sure everything went well. But
now that wasn’t happening, and customers were demanding better
prices and faster service. Bill was stuck, and his old ways of
running the business weren’t working.
Most small business owners get stuck forever:
Most entrepreneurs remain sole
practitioners and stay at Level 2 forever. They grow to two men and
a truck or to eight employees at one location. And others grow to
three managers and twenty employees. But when the company gets to a
level where the business owner can’t control everything anymore, it
gets stuck and stops growing. They know they need to do something
different, let go, hire better people, delegate, install systems,
find better customers, improve services, or find more hours in the
day. But they don’t know what to do next, get frustrated, and
I can’t get my business to work!”
When you get stuck, you hate to going to
work because you have more demands and pressures than you can
handle. So what should you do to get unstuck and grow your business?
Refocus on what you want! Stop and remember your
original dream of owning a growing and prosperous company that
achieves your vision and goals, is organized, profitable, has
lots of great customers, is run by your empowered management
team, and gives you freedom and time to enjoy your life.
Realize you are a business builder!
You will never reach your goals if you don’t grow. Are you too
busy working to make any money? To grow, you’ve got to let go,
delegate, and do what you do best. Growth starts with customers
who want what you sell. And you are the best salesperson in your
company. You must make time to go out and build relationships
with loyal customers plus find new ones.
Replace yourself with systems! In order to
delegate to your team, you need systems and procedures in place
that don’t rely on you dictating and directing every move and
decision on every transaction. Put your standards on paper and
train your people to follow them. This is how you get beyond YOU
as the business. Systems allow you to get out of doing and
supervising work, and create time to make building your business
the top priority.
Hire the best! Now that you know where
you are going and have systems in place, you can start to build
a strong management team prepared to take your company to the
next level. Good people without written systems can’t do a great
job without your constant input.
Enjoy the ride! With your company
organized and growing, you can now focus on creating more
opportunities for your business to prosper and grow.
As Bill’s company
grew, he learned to delegate more responsibility to his management
team. As they stopped relying on Bill to make decisions for them,
they started to see the company’s potential, and got excited about
their new roles and responsibilities. In order to grow, they next
needed to standardize their operational systems. Now with managers
in charge, they would have to get everyone trained to do things the
same way through specific systems and procedures. As his managers
began to install systems, Bill gained more free time to meet with
existing and potential customers and look for better ways to serve
them. He also began looking for opportunities to expand by offering
new services and products. Profits began to rise, his equity and net
worth grew, and free time became more available. Bill had gotten out
of the muck and his business was working!
To get unstuck,
what will you do differently with your time to get your business to
deliver exactly what you want? Decide what you’ll do to make this
happen, get unstuck, and out of the muck.
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