Had a great session with a liber8yourbusiness client on Skype recently. She had just completed Session 2 in the liber8yourbusiness Online Seminar Room – Choosing your Exit Model. In the session I outline 5 typical business models a business owner can choose from when planning their exit strategy. This client was excited because she had thought that she was going to franchise her business and was struggling with how she was going to do this. After watching the teleseminar she realised that she was really looking at a Systemisation/Licensing combo, which would allow her to turn her unique nutritional consultation business (currently wholly reliant on her to do the consultations) into a system which she could brand, package and license to other natural health professionals who could be trained to run the system with their clients. I love seeing the lights go on for someone and I felt exited for her too. It’s also great to hear that people are getting so much value from the online programme. I will outline the 5 business models in another blog… watch this space or for the real experience, join the programme!
This trait speaks for itself. The world’s most successful people do not just have a vision, clear goals and a plan… they take action. Very successful people do not tend to have a problem getting up in the morning. They do not sit around waiting for fortune to land in their lap. They know that action makes things happen. This is a short lesson. There’s not much more to be said on the subject. If you want to create a business that will feed you financial freedom, you have to follow your plan. To quote Rod Drury, you have to ‘be merciless in your execution of your strategy’. It won’t happen if you don’t make it so. Go to it
Just back from holiday in Taupo where I managed to squeeze in a quick lunchtime session with some women from the Her Business Network. I asked them to send me a question for discussion prior to the lunch. Here was one question we debated at length:
“I am a one person band – and built a successful business around my expertise and skill as a business and marketing consultant. My business had been operating since 1998. My clients come because of me – I ensure that my clients have an exit strategy but I don’t have one for myself! I don’t employ staff or “sell” things. The business is me. I have a lot of business colleagues who I work with on my clients if need be ie lawyers, accountant etc. I create the strategies etc for the business and these are unique to each business. I am working on developing business and marketing templates to load onto my website – not sure what value they will add to the business. I can’t see how I can “sell” my business given it is me! Would value your thoughts on this and maybe some ideas of what I should do”.
What became apparent as we talked was that it is possible to turn any business into a highly saleable commodity… but it takes a mind shift. Firstly you have to really want it. We talked about the alternatives. For this particular person, it meant retiring with no on-going income. She wants to retire within 5 years, so her motivation is increasing. However, a primary belief held is that ‘it is too hard and too time consuming to train someone else. “I’ve tried that and it just ends up being quicker to do it myself!”
It’s true, it is harder in the short term to create a long term solution. There are really only two ways to create leverage in your business – build a team to do the work better than you can, or create products that clients can buy that are not dependent totally on your hourly input. For many service based businesses, where a client is buying your personal expertise, you will need a combination of both. Learn to ‘productize’ your expertise – with the tools available these days and the power of the internet, it is easier to do this than its every been before. And get your head around the fact that other people can, with proper coaching and excellent systems, do your job as well as you! Really! It does take time to train them and yes, you have to put more time in to set all this up… but if it means you can actually walk away and have your business pay you for your retirement… is it worth it? In this month’s session at liber8yourbusiness we are teaching clients how to go about ‘productising’ their expertise. The tools are there… lets explore them!
Just read interview with Wellington entrepreneur Phil Wheelans in today’s DominionPost. Phil set up The Hire Company which has 10 branches nationwide and turns over $18 million a year. The two business mistakes he has learnt from resonated with me and I have been teaching these principles at my seminars for years:
1. Employ key people as soon as you can.
To quote Phil, “I believed I could do the lot myself working 60,70, 80 hour work weeks. I brought in my CEO/CFO adn he’s released me from all the drama in the office and freed me up to do what I’m good at”. Rod Drury of Xero said a simlilar thing to me about his subject recently. He too put emphasis on hiring the people that can do the work – to free the entrepreneur to do what they do best – create the vision and lead the team.
2. Take out your wealth as you go.
Phil Wheelan describes his regret and not taking enough out of his companies as they have grown. This is very common. Most business owners continue to pile all their profits back into their business, investing it all in growth… presumably with the intention of a big fat payback down the track. Common but unnecessarily risky. If you are smart and build your business well, it will pay you back in the future. But just in case something goes wrong and it doesn’t, it is sensible to take some dividends each year as you go… invest that money wisely and watch it grow alongside your business success. Clearly you have to leave enough in the business to fund your plans, but the business can also feed its shareholders along the way.
Sage advice from people who have earned the right to give it.
I’m having the most exciting conversations with inspiring and accomplished business people these days. Since launching liber8yourbusiness and beginning my quest to find business role models who are happy to share their knowledge with my clients, I feel like I’m on an incredible ride of aspiration. On Monday I had coffee with Mike Brunel, who is truly a master of leverage (and sales, you can check him out at www.talkingmediasales.com). Mike’s company NRS Media works with over 400 major television, radio, and newspaper companies in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, the United States, South America, Canada, South Africa, the African continent, Australia, and Asia, has offices in London, Atlanta, Toronto, and Sydney and employs over 175 staff. Meanwhile, while his company operates globally, Mike has coffee in Wellington before picking his kids up from school.
It’s just such a buzz to talk about business models and exit strategies with people like Mike. We covered a lot of ground and became pretty animated (fed by the best of L’affare’s coffee of course). While we shared ideas, I scribbled on a napkin. Here’s a perspective on business growth stages based on revenues:
Stage 1. $0 – 1 million. Do whatever it takes to get sales. Hands on, high owner involvement, work all hours. Go like a crazy thing.
Stage 2. $1 – 5 million. Bring others in to leverage your time, enable more capacity.
Stage 3. $5 – $20 million. Team in place. Build, build, build.
Stage 4. $20+ million. Business has life beyond owner. Time to leverage or sell.