Updated: Jul 20, 2021
“Paula, I want to step away from my business for three weeks, generate revenue and still have a company when I return.
Feeling like a hamster on the wheel stinks. Crisis management zaps my energy. I know they’re important, yet doing rote tasks is mind numbing. This company is my baby. These things cut into my focus and creative capital I need to grow the business,” said Ava.
If confliction has a look, Ava had it. Business ownership can be challenging. Scratch that. Sometimes it’s like trying to exit an elephant through an exhaust pipe. It’s not the first time I’ve heard a client unload like this in an executive session. For business owners there’s little distinction between how they earn a living and their life. Enjoying both is possible. If you’re wondering about my approach, it involves energy, mindset alignment and a scoach of alchemy. The first step is gaining clarity. It’s gold. Ava’s pot of gold? Business systems.
Ava, (that would be an alias) built her small business from the ground up and, like many owners, she jockeys between growth pangs and time bankruptcy. Regardless of the company size and industry, systematizing a business or a vertical, if you’ve never done it, can cause agita. Ava knew it was time to seek outside expertise and perspective. She wants to balance time, freedom and business ownership, maybe you do too. No. I won’t ask you to imagine sitting on a beach in the tropics, sipping a Pina Colada.
But I will ask, “What would it mean to you to build systems that keep the business running so you have the time, freedom and money to do something you’ve always wanted?”
Whether this is a primer, a reminder, or maybe it’s a, “God wink,” at the perfect time, note to self, everything happens for a reason.
Let’s compare business operations to the ANS, the autonomic nervous system responsible for your body’s involuntary functions. The ANS, which facilitates countless life-giving functions, is the single most intelligent operations system on earth. The metronome in your chest beats forty-two million times per year. Its electrical system pumps blood through 60,000 miles of vessels, arteries, veins and capillaries. Oxygen flows in and out of your lungs effortlessly. With all systems go, this happens seamlessly. Imagine if you had to handle all of these functions daily. You’d have zero time to enjoy life because all of your energy goes to survival.
Ava’s initial response to the ANS analogy was, you’re kidding right? To listening intently. To, “Holy shit Paula that makes perfect sense.”
Consider this a portable concept and let’s think together about ways to model the ANS in your business. First. Run, don’t walk away from any advisor that doesn’t suggest a diagnostic. It happens for an important reason, one that saves you Benjamins. And unless it’s business critical, there’s no rule saying you have to implement systems in one pass. Under some conditions, I advise against it. Phasing the process, done with skillful execution, works.
A silent financial partner aside, what business owner do you know who is completely hand’s off? Um-hum. You know though, some owners have built a damn good BANS, business autonomic nervous system. They’ve mastered business ownership, having free time and generating recurring income. Ask me how I know that.
Early in my career, I worked for one of these absentee CEO geniuses. He’d say, “Here’s the client, the contract and $25k in seed money. Make it happen. Make it successful. Make it profitable.” Then he'd vanish for months. Thirty-three million in revenue. An eight percent annual growth fifteen years running. An eighty-four percent client retention rate. When we chat, we'll compare notes on business development, wealth generation and scaling a business. Aside from a cash injection, think about the number of entrepreneurs who pitch on Shark Tank, willing to give up substantial equity, because they want the Shark’s expertise at growing a business. Experience matters. Agree. A Shark can ten-x a business. Yet they don’t hold exclusivity to business building. Sorry Babs. Certain people possess the innate wiring to build things. Be it building an idea into a profitable reality, an infrastructure for recurring income, or a lemonade stand, building things isn’t what they do. It is who they are.
Enter technology. It’s a tool that helps you and your businesses become better, smarter and more efficient. A conversation about the adaption of AI, robotics or end-to-end automation is for another time. Although some puzzle pieces have gone missing. Let’s find them.
It’s a given, from the simple to the complex, every system needs regular review, quality control, maintenance and refinement. The system aside, what are the other puzzle pieces? Employees with specialized knowledge to keep operations running smoothly is to a business what the autonomic nervous system is to your body. Are you thinking, an unbeatable dynamic duo?
This isn’t the whole story, not by a long shot. When you want to develop a system, know what it should look like and how it should function, we’ll talk BANS. You may not want a three-week vacation like Ava. But you’ll have the time, freedom and money to choose that something you’ve always wanted, sipping a Pina Colada included.
(C) 2019 Paula M. Parker Originally Published in