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Monday Morning Notes
March 5, 2012
from the desk of Chuck Violand... 

Good Monday morning, <<First Name>>—  

            Today it’s my pleasure to once again welcome my colleague, Tim Hull, as a guest writer for Monday Morning Notes. When Tim first offered this piece as a blog post we felt his subject deserved a broader reading audience and more real estate in which to explore his topic. The result is today's Note.
           In his Note Tim addresses a quandary every entrepreneur faces at some point as he grows his business, regardless of the size of his company. I think you’ll also enjoy the personal approach Tim takes to his subject.  



by Tim Hull... 

            Recently I had an interesting conversation with my Uncle Bill, a small business owner, mentor and very close friend. The topic was what he should do with the excess profits his business generated last year. Talk about a great problem to have! What made the conversation especially interesting was his self-admitted peacefulness with his life and business. My uncle owns an Auto Body Repair shop, works long hours and is diligent about his security and investment. His business was not always this prosperous. He did not always take a pay check and often wondered if and when the next customer would walk through the door. However he remained vigilant and committed and the business grew.
            About five years ago, when his production capacity and nerves were stretched to the max, Bill was faced with a crucial decision many other small business owners face: How big do I want to grow?  His business was successful and sales were increasing to the point where he could not keep up with the demand for his services. He and I had many long discussions before he came to the realization that he either needed to hire more technicians or become focused (selective) with the jobs he took. Based on a self-performed SWOT analysis of his company and his personal dreams and desires he chose to become more focused. This was not an easy decision for him to make, nor would it be for any entrepreneur, especially one who’s DNA is hard-wired to push the envelope and strive for more.   
            All too often an entrepreneur’s desire to grow comes at a cost. Recreational enjoyment is put on the back burner. Children become resentful. Marriages fail and work becomes self-consuming. While these costs may be considered par for the course to some, they were not acceptable in the eyes of my uncle. He is a family man first, passionate about chasing whitetail deer in the fall and aside from his Harley, has no desire for the “finer things in life.”
            In many ways Bill made the same decision about his business as those Bo Burlingham profiles in his book, Small Giants. The former senior editor of Inc. Magazine writes about companies that were passionate about the products they made, the services they provided, and about life in general. The owners of each of the companies he mentions were faced with the same decision to either become big or to stay small. Each of them chose to become great, rather than become big.
            I am proud to say my Uncle Bill stands as an outstanding example that entrepreneurs can run successful businesses without sacrificing the things they value most. To this day he remains an owner-operator with just one part time employee. He is virtually debt free and at the peak of his earning potential. I attribute his success to his ability to keep the goals for his business sized appropriately with those of his personal life. It is a delicate balance which requires discipline and perspective. Achieving success may not always equate to growing bigger. As in the case of my uncle, it may just mean finding your right size. 


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APRIL 2012


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