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Monday Morning Notes
April 4, 2011
from the desk of Chuck Violand... 


Good Monday morning, <<First Name>>—  

          As owners of our own business we are always the chief bottleneck in the way of our company’s growth. Recognizing this fact allows us to go to work on getting out of our own way so our company can flourish.
          In today’s Note I identify some of the ways these bottlenecks manifest themselves and what we can do to remove them.  
 
Enjoy!
Chuck






ESCAPING GROUNDHOG DAY MANAGEMENT Part VII
DISCIPLINE

by Chuck Violand... 

          The last characteristic in the area of Discipline is our ability to get out of our own way. As business owners we all bring a set of strengths and weaknesses to our company. Our strengths are the personal characteristics that supported us when we launched our business and that continue to serve us as it grows. Things like creativity—to invent a better mouse trap; confidence—to believe you’ll succeed; resilience—to come back time and time again after defeat; and impatience—to never “settle”.
          Our weaknesses are the characteristics that undermine our ability to continue growing our company. As strange as it may sound, our weaknesses are often mutations of our strengths. Excessive creativity can become an inability to focus on a strategy long enough to see it succeed; over-confidence can become arrogance; if we’re not careful our resilience can blind us to possible threats to our business; and the impatience that wouldn’t allow us settle for “good enough” can morph into unrealistic expectations.
          I am not one who subscribes to the popular philosophy that we should focus on our strengths and ignore our weaknesses. Too often I’ve found that ignoring our weaknesses leaves us vulnerable in the long run. Arrogance, for example, doesn’t improve with age. If I’m arrogant, ignoring the fact won’t help me to attract and keep the talented people I need to grow my company. Instead recognize your weaknesses and surround yourself with people who can help you work on them, or at least help mitigate the damaging affect they may have on your company. Doing so will allow you even more time to focus on the things you do best.
            Another example of getting out of our own way has to do with the business management skills of the owner. Most small businesses outgrow their owner’s original set of skills fairly quickly. This isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just a reality. When this happens growth stalls and the business will remain in “stall mode” until the owner develops himself enough to restart its growth.  
            According to Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, of the more than 23 million businesses in North America only 4% ever exceed $1 million dollars in revenue. In other words 96% of all businesses in North America gross less than $1 million in sales. In my opinion this is not due to the company’s markets, the economy, or the technical competence of the owner. Rather it’s overwhelming due to the owner capping out his business management skills.
          Even if your vision isn’t to grow a multi-million dollar company, the ease with which your run your business, whether or not it is dependent on your daily presence, and even the eventual sale value of your business will be affected by your growth as a business owner. Believe it or not, this is something that is in your control.
          The reality is that we as business owners are constantly in a process of bottlenecking and then getting out of our own way as our business grows. The problem is that it’s usually based on trial-and-error. We would do ourselves and our company a huge favor if we took the time to pro-actively investigate the ways in which we “bottleneck” the growth of our company, and then took the necessary steps to get out of our own way.    




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June 16-17, 2011

 
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