26 Sep Entrepreneurial Freedom
IT STARTS WITH A DREAM
For most entrepreneurs, when we create our businesses we have a vision – a dream. Part of that dream often involves owning a business that allows us opportunities to do things in our personal lives that we have always wanted to do. A dream of freedom.
In comes reality
Then we start to grow. We hire more people. We add more systems. We move to a bigger location. We hire more people. We make more stuff. Complexity begins to creep in. Before we know it, we don’t own our business; it owns us.
It doesn’t have to be that way
I’ve been there. Twice. As I write about in my best-selling book RISE: The Reincarnation of an Entrepreneur, the first time this happened to me was when I took over our family business in Virginia and grew it from $8 million to $18 million over a 10-year period.
The second time it happened was when I started my current manufacturing business. But this time, within two years of startup, I implemented a system called EOS®. EOS stands for the Entrepreneurial Operating System®. It is a simple, holistic system that helps entrepreneurs run a better business.
Two years after implementing EOS, we made the Inc 5000, and the following year, I was able to hand over the reigns of my business to my Leadership Team and assume the position of owner—not having to be involved in the day-to-day of the business.
With my newfound freedom, I have started another business, The TRACTION Hub. My team and I now coach other entrepreneurs and their Leadership Teams to do what I did: systemize their business, delegate the day-to-day decisions, and elevate to a place where they have time to pursue the dreams they had when they started their business.
Six Steps to Living a Life of Freedom
Strengthen the following Six Key Components™ of your business:
1 – Clarify and Simplify your Vision so that you can share it with everyone in the organization—but not just once. You have to repeat yourself over and over and over until they all can see it. Once they can clearly see where the organization is going, they can all help row in the same direction.
2 – Build an Accountability Chart that creates a clear structure with defined roles for each seat, including a Leadership Team that covers the major functions of your business and creates single-point accountability for each of those major functions. Fill the seats with people who share your values and have the necessary abilities to succeed in the role.
3 – Establish strong data and measurables that help give you a pulse on your business and a strong ability to predict. Make sure that everyone in your organization has at least one number that defines success for them in their role.
4 – Stop putting out fires and focusing on symptoms, – the pain points. Use those symptoms and the pain you are feeling to really examine the “why” so that you can dig down to the root cause of your issues and solve them there—so that they go away forever.
5 – Systemize your business. Define, optimize, and document your core processes. Then train to those core processes so that everyone is doing things YOUR way. If everybody is doing things their own way, you will be plagued by inconsistencies and stagnation.
6 – Establish quarterly goals and a strong Meeting Pulse™ so that your teams can meet regularly and hold each other accountable to those goals and measurables as well as take time to collaboratively solve the current issues that are holding you back.
With those six things done and in place, you can begin to let go of the vine…to delegate things that consume you to a capable and aligned team so that you can elevate into spending more time doing the things that fulfill you.
This past week I had two specific examples of clients who are beginning to feel their lives shifting to one of freedom.
Jason is one of two brothers who own a large-format printing company they started from their garage in Phoenix and have grown into a significant business doing major work all across the country. We’ve been working together for 18 months. During his check-in, he told us that, for the first time in years, he has more time at home after work and is able to shut off his phone and enjoy uninterrupted time with his wife and children. That’s freedom.
Then there’s Chris, owner of one of the fastest growing HVAC companies in the country, based in Las Vegas with additional operations in Arizona and Southern California. We’ve been working together for just under one year. In 2016, they made the Inc 500. During his check-in he told us that, for the first time in 20 years, he actually had time to enjoy a personal life during the summer—when HVAC businesses in Las Vegas and Phoenix are operating at redline. That’s what freedom tastes like.
In both cases, these entrepreneurs acknowledged that the single-most important reason for the freedom they were experiencing was their decision to implement a foundational operating system in their business. A system that would help them clarify and simplify their vision, surround themselves with great people, and gain the Traction™ necessary to achieve that vision.
Do you own your business or does your business own you?
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu