When life presents you challenges, particularly in the arena of life and death, both of us believe it’s important to look for the lesson in your situation.
It’s even better if you can find the gift in your experience.
It’s not always easy to do. In fact, it’s often difficult at best. Sometimes, it feels downright impossible. Finding the good in a tough situation can also require some long-range thinking. In some cases, the silver lining isn’t visible for a couple of months, or even a few years.
Either way, your ability to see all sides of a situation—good, bad, ugly, blessing-in-disguise—will only help you deal with the constant curve balls that life throws.
So when my mom was diagnosed on late stage cancer few years back and I met an accident that nearly caused me death, I began to reflect on what kind of business or entrepreneur that I really want to be.
That saying, it gave me an inspiration I need to build a business that based on “serving” and it would have to be “self-run” or duplicate-able. Some said, automate all the processes that required and make my self redundant from the business operations and only care about how much we made in the of the day.
One of the other results of our deep thinking was a strong reminder to embrace an entrepreneurial concept that’s crucial to your long-term success—and sanity:
As you set up your business, make the effort to set up as many parts as possible to run without you there.
We say “make the effort” because we know it’s not easy. It’s often simpler to do everything yourself. However, with such a lesson to learn, I couldn’t help but be reminded how powerful an independently-running business can be.
Now with the latest hurricane Sandy hammered U.S East Coast area, I’m pretty sure millions of people will be without power and with waters flooding almost everywhere in New Jersey, New York and other areas, we might want to think not twice but 3 times so that we could run our business without physically being there or worst our shops and offices located in the disaster area. In writing and adding this post, I do hope my aunt is save now in the area of Manhattan City.
It’s the real secret of escalation: as your business grows, your role shouldn’t grow proportionally with it. Sure, running a $200,000 business can require more energy from you than running a $20,000 business—but it certainly shouldn’t require ten times more of your energy. In fact, if you set it up right, it shouldn’t take a whole lot more of your energy at all.
That’s why we encourage you experts, authors, coaches and entrepreneurs to create a product. Selling 1000 products doesn’t take a whole lot more energy than selling 100. However, fulfilling 1000 in-person training sessions certainly takes more energy than fulfilling 100.
The ultimate lesson here is this: as you grow your business, you need to continuously consider different avenues to enable your business to run without you. Product creation is one. Others to consider include:
- Automating everything you can.Many businesses put a piece of their sales and marketing process on auto-pilot with an auto-responder sequence.But have you considered automating the collection of your testimonials? Imagine spending an hour or two of setup to create a system that continuously collects the social proof you need to market your business without any extra effort on your part. By automatically triggering a post-sale survey to your customers a month or two after purchase, you can do just that. Pursuing further avenues of automation will only make your job as an entrepreneur easier.
- Outsourcing smartly. Solo-preneurs are especially prone to “do it yourself”-it is, especially when they’re starting out and budgets are tight. We’re all in favor of low overhead, but even starting small with outsourcing can have a huge effect. For example, consider your customer service. There are plenty of cost-effective, English-speaking, service-oriented solutions out there. Having someone check your support email and phone line once a day can save you the stress of the daily burden while ensuring that your customers enjoy a prompt response. (Don’t have a separate customer service email and phone line? GET ONE.) You’ll be surprised at how inexpensive taking a load off your mind can be.
The trick is keeping your eye on the prize. Once you know where you want to go—and what level of involvement you want in your day-to-day dealings—continue looking at your business through the lens of “How can I do less and achieve the same outcome?” As always, don’t be afraid to get creative.
One important note: you never want to turn your business over completely. As Arnold Schwarzenegger was advised about his Kindergarten class, “You don’t want to turn your back on it.” No matter what, you’ll want to be actively involved in the overall management of your company. At the very least, you need to regularly take its pulse to ensure that it’s running the way you want it. This includes the manner in which customers are cared for, sales are being executed and accounting is maintained.
There’s one last thing we want to add on this topic. As your business grows, if you decide to step back from the day-to-day running of your business, there’s one thing that needs to stay involved: your personality. It’s what gives your brand life. Most likely, it’s already stamped all over your business like Sir Richard Branson. Make sure you keep it that way.