I’ve been in business in one way or another since I was ten years old. That was the year by Dad bought me three rabbits, one buck and two does, and showed me how to start a breeding program.
Rabbits being rabbits, this soon turned into a nice little business, one that we grew to three bucks and twenty does and which netted a profit of around $300 a week by the time I was thirteen. I eventually bought my dad out and rolled the profits into my college fund. I was the only one of my friends to go to college completely debt free. Since then I’ve started three more enterprises, all to varying degrees of success or failure and I’ve learned a thing or two about growing and running a business along the way.
One of the things I’ve learned is that the hardest part of starting a business is recognizing when it’s time to change course for the continued growth and good health of the company. In the early stages of most companies you really don’t own anything more than a job, the real value is wrapped up in the person of the entrepreneur who founded it, so if you stop working the business dies. Therefore; the biggest challenge for an entrepreneur is recognizing when it’s time to stop working in the business and start working on the business. This is the point at which you start hiring staff and delegating responsibility. And this is the point at which, if you don’t stage manage the transition properly the whole thing could unravel right before your eyes. I know; it’s happened to me.
Back in the fall of 1995, at the ripe old age of 23, I founded a music production company. My partner was ten years older than me and also owned a recording studio. The potential synergy was obvious but as he started to split his focus between the old and new ventures it became clear that he had not done a good job of preparing the studio business for his absence. As a result both businesses suffered and the studio eventually failed. Without the studio to supplement his income not to mention the lack of an inexpensive place for us to record the bands we were signing the production company floundered as well and both companies were gone in less than 3 years.
Growing a new organization is hard work. But it’s also a delicate dance. Knowing when to hire, (and fire), when to step back and when to jump in with renewed vigor are not an exact science. Often times it’s just a matter of reviewing your priorities and re-committing to your core values but other times hiring a business coach and getting the advice of a professional who understands the dynamics of a growing business is a must. For more information on Meekonomist approved business coaching write to firstname.lastname@example.org
And check out this article on; Five Mistakes Founders Make that Sabotage Organizations.