Before you read this blog please take a moment to watch this quick video about Kathleen Turner of Tate’s Bake Shop – the story of a woman who lost it all then rebuilt it – with major success.
I love how towards the end of the video, Kathleen King talks about the reason for success behind her second business was because she took the emotion out. “I knew I had to execute efficiently and grow a viable business,” she says, “I didn’t have the same emotional attachment that I had with my first business.” Her first business was her baby. And after 23 years, when she was emotionally wrung out and exhausted from caring for this demanding baby for so long, she ended up $200,000 in debt instead of financially rewarded. Her baby bit her in the bum.
It’s not personal. It’s business
How many times have you heard someone refer to their business their ‘baby’? Have you ever called your own business your baby? It’s a very common analogy and one we can all relate to given the blood, sweat and emotional tears we put into our business when we decide to take that leap of faith and build our own dream.
But in my view it’s not a good analogy at all. Here are three reasons why I strongly believe your business is not your baby:
1. Babies are dependent on you for at least 18 years
With business one of your primary goals should be to decrease it’s dependency on you. A business is meant to be an asset, not a job. In the first few years, there are some similarities with parenting a newborn for sure – long hours, sleepless nights, relentless giving of your time and energy to name but a few – but this is not meant to last forever. And certainly not for 18 years! Prepare to start cutting the apron strings long before your business reaches adolesence. Don’t get so attached you are not willing to let go.
2. A baby is the single most emotional connection you will ever have
You will love your baby forever, regardless of who they become. I’ll never forget my mother after a few wines the night before my wedding hugging me tight and saying “I loved you the minute you were born. And then you started taking drugs!” Yes I was a troubled and troublesome teenager (although I like to think there were a few memories in between birth and my first foray into magic mushrooms). But she still had to love me, and thankfully still does.
The emotional connection is what makes parenthood worthwhile. But in business, the emotion can make us weak and cloud our judgment. Remember Kathleen King in the video? She had her first business – her baby – for 23 years and all it did was leave her with $200k in debt. Her second business she did without emotion – just with a clear plan and a determination to execute the plan. She went from scratch to $6 million in revenue, selling cookies in 50 US states in just 8 years. A far cry from the 23 years of her previous business where she kept her apron strings on right up to the very bitter end.
3. A baby is unlikely to pay you back financially
The days of the younger generation taking care of their parents financially are mostly over. Do you expect your kids to pay for you when you grow old? I know I don’t. That’s why I create businesses with a view to ensuring a financial pay back down the track – so I know I’ll be able to care for myself.
It’s important to view your business as an asset – something that you build to pay you back financially. Sure you have to be passionate about what you do, and love your business for the difference it makes in the world. But don’t be so attached to it you can’t see it for what it really is – one of your primary wealth creation tools. Unlike a baby, it should be feeding you.
Your business is not a baby. It’s a business. The game is to keep the emotion out of it, decrease its dependency and regard it as an asset that will ultimately feed you financially, not drain all of your resources.
Now, how do you feel about this? Still think your business is your baby?
Love to hear your comments. Post below.