By Andy Bailey
To put it simply, if you can’t take a month off to travel to Italy (or to write the great American novel or do some other time-intensive activity), you’ve got a job.
When I started my first company, I thought I was out of the grind of a job. Sure, my company was successful, but after nine years, I realized that I still had a job, not a business. My stress level was still high, and I hadn’t made myself any happier than if I had a regular job. So, I made some changes.
Do you want to make the shift from job to business and realize your dreams of independence? Here are five steps to help get you there:
- Make a plan. It’s best if you can define your priorities by breaking them down into daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly activities. Figure out where you are as a company right now, where you want to go, and how you want to get there.
- Surround yourself with the best. If you think you can do it alone and not end up having a job, you’re mistaken. You’ve got to be intentional about surrounding yourself with great people.
- Once you have the best, leave them alone. Relax. Resist the temptation to micromanage your team. Warren Buffet said it best: “Hire well. Manage little.” If you’ve succeeded with steps one and two, you’ve already set your team up for success. So, let them do what they do best without hovering.
- Make your business independent of you. As I said earlier, if you can’t take a month long vacation, you’ve still got a job. Develop processes that allow your business to run without you. Instead of holding onto knowledge, share what you’ve got and teach your employees to be problem solvers, rather than come to you for answers.
- Walk your talk. Be fair and reasonable with your employees and your clients. Make sure to show up on time and do what you say you’re going to do. You’ll reap the rewards through inspired loyalty and customer referrals.
Odds are, you’re going to have to start with a job to turn your company into a business. It won’t happen overnight. But, little by little — if you do it right — things will come together. In musical terms, think of yourself as a conductor. You’re not sitting first chair in the orchestra, and you’re not playing an instrument. Your job is to get the best players, decide who’s going to play what and how, and then let them perform the symphony. Pretty soon, you can put down the baton, listen to the music, and take that much-needed long vacation.
As the founder of Petra Coach, Andy Bailey can cut through organizational BS faster than a hot knife through butter, showing organizations the logjams thwarting their success, and coaching them past the excuses we all use to avoid doing what needs to be done. Andy learned how to build great organizations by building a great business, which he started in college. It then grew into an Inc. 500 multimillion-dollar national company that he successfully sold and exited.