Here is something that I learned kind of the hard way initially. I’m hoping that I can prevent other people from learning it the hard way too.
I have a good friend who’s learning it the hard way right now and that’s why this topic is very fresh in my mind.
Good business gone
One morning I was driving by her business and there she is with her husband loading stuff from her business into her car, getting ready to close the doors and drive off.
What is surprising about this and where this lesson comes from today is that the business is not a failure. The business is actually a pretty wild success.
She’s killing it. She’s a total hustler.
It’s been on fire for the last two years that she’s had this business. It’s got a really nice name for itself here in the market and she shut it down.
And so, the question is, “Why would she shut it down?”
The answer is that she hates it.
She hates the business because of its success and because of the natural dynamics of the business that she’s in. It has consumed her life.
It has consumed her schedule, consumed her life. I mean she’s worked so hard at this business that it shocked me at times.
And that’s a painful lesson that I’ve seen.
A business that will make you miserable
Way too many entrepreneurs learn this the hard way.
The fact is that they’ve started a business that has made them miserable.
For so many of us entrepreneurs, the point of being in business and starting a business is the ability to call our own shots. Being an entrepreneur gives us the ability to make our own schedule. It means freedom.
Certain businesses have dynamics that are just counter to that. And if you’re not thinking about the dynamics of the business model that you’re getting into, if you don’t have a set of criteria to help you evaluate, will that be a good business for you?
It may be a great business like the insurance industry, phenomenal business, and other industries.
Warren Buffet will tell you about phenomenal business. But I will tell you that if you put me in the insurance business I’m going to have a serious crisis. It is counter to everything that’s interesting to me. For me, it is not satisfying to try and run a business like that.
So if you’re looking to be able to travel a lot when your business is successful, don’t start a restaurant, don’t start a retail business. Unless you have real success with that type of business, you probably are going to be married to the retail of that business.
Criteria for business
I suggest that you have criteria for the types of businesses that you’ll be happy with even if the business isn’t outrageously successful.
If it’s just good solid business, it’s not a runaway success. It’s not something where you’re going to be able to hire tons of people to work for you. It is not something where so much cash being spit out of it that you can have somebody else run it.
And you don’t even have to think about it.
It’s not one of those businesses, it’s just a good solid business that’s going to require your attention as an entrepreneur and an owner, will you be happy with that business?
So have criteria.
Have a set of criteria that will help you evaluate when you want to go into a certain business. Because you may have some inclination that the business you are going into might not be for you.
I highly suggest that you do a couple of things.
Systematize your business
One, you start systematizing your business as much as humanly possible. Because what you’re eventually probably going to want to do is to exit that business and you don’t want to have to shut it down like my friend just did.
My friend just shut down her business because she realized she didn’t have anything that was immediately sellable.
Yes, it was on fire, had a good brand, but she brought in some potential buyers and talk to them and realize that anybody that was going to pay her any decent amount of money for this business.
Nobody was going to want her to either stick around and run it for a period of time. That, or she has to spend the next year or more systematizing the business.
That’s not the end of the world but is the end of the world for her right now.
She realized that what she wants out of business is that flexibility. It is freedom.
And she’s got other ideas. She’s super smart. As I said, she’s a hustler.
So she said, “Forget it. I’m making the decision to shut this thing down right now so that I can get onto that next thing.”
And I really admire that because that’s a courageous decision. That’s a bold decision.
A lot of people would not be able to make that decision. What would happen is they would end up getting stuck.
If you’re in that position or you feel like that’s a possibility, start systematizing your business right away. So that when it is time for you to leave, you can extract as much value from it as possible.
Sell that business to somebody else who looks at the business and thinks it is a perfect fit for them.
They like what you’ve built and they liked that you have a system that they can invest to operate that business.
Establish criteria and systematize before you start a business
So if you’re just getting started, establish a set of criteria and use those criteria to be able to evaluate the business. If you want to be able to travel if you want to be able to have flexibility in your calendar and who you work with.
Starting an online business, starting an e-commerce business, starting publishing business or even starting an online services business. Whatever it is.
Even if it is one where the services can be outsourced easily it should be systematized, automated and things like that. So you won’t have to be intimately involved with every client.
Establish those criteria and make sure you’re clear on it.
Really, really dig in and start trying to make your business one of systems and processes that somebody else could acquire and have the confidence to run because that’s how you’ll get value out of that business rather than just shutting it down.
I hope that this serves somebody out there. I hope that this helps you because I hate to see somebody else going through the same situation, but it’s actually much more common than you think.
So be very careful and thoughtful about the business being good for you.
That’s it, take care!