You’re privileged to taste the wisdom of guest blogger Carl Dierschow this week. He is a gifted small business coach and a fellow pilgrim on the journey through corporate executive coaching days into the marvelous world of small business coaching.
As a business owner, you know you’re going to be working very hard to build the success of your company. It’s a part of the tradeoff you make, right? You need to sacrifice personal and family time to have the business grow.
Let’s think about this differently.
I’ve had a chance to talk to several business owners recently.
One great example is Stefanie O’Neill at Vern’s Toffee House in Fort Collins. She’s the third generation leader of a family business, and with her husband, has specifically limited the company growth in order to maintain an enviable lifestyle and superb quality product. They regularly take weekends off to be with the family and haven’t grown it beyond what three people can handle. If they did, quality would suffer and Grandpa’s name would be dishonored.
I also talked with Greg Musto at RJM Automotive Buyer’s Agency. He has grand ambitions, but has structured everything around being with his family. He’s constantly living in the tension between his personal priorities and growing a healthy business.
Most people want to avoid that tension, but Greg provides a great example of using it constructively. For himself, he uses it to prod himself to get creative.
From these two examples, and other people I’ve talked with, I’ve learned some important things.
First, our culture would have us believe that “if you’re not growing, you’re dying.” But Stefanie is leading a company which hasn’t grown that much since it started – just the gentle organic growth you’d expect from increased exposure and improved marketing. They’ve designed the growth to be limited, focusing instead on delivering a top-quality product with a personal relationship. When you call them to place an order, you’re speaking to the owner.
Second, we tend to measure business success only in terms of the bottom line. If it can’t be translated to dollars, it’s unimportant, right? But these people have made powerful choices to place family higher, yet reaped the rewards of financial success as well.
I believe that’s the power of maintaining a clear view of what’s important. When you know in your heart why your business is important to you (personally), you have the energy to work hard at it. And you also know when to stop working so hard, because you’re sacrificing your values and losing focus.
What’s the point of owning a business if you’re going to
lose your life as a result?
Does this mean that you’re only permitted to have family values when you’re a tiny business? Absolutely not. A couple of local examples you might know are New Belgium Brewery and Otterbox–each has a unique people-focused culture. Each is growing faster than the competition and reaping great rewards.
I’d like to hear your ideas: How do you honor your personal priorities in the goals of your business? Has this been difficult for you?
Consider these questions this week:
· What are your personal values and priorities?
· How does your business support, or conflict with, that personal side?
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