Quite simply, the more you actualize your potential, the more you can experience adventure and fun things in life, personal growth, meaning, and let’s not forget materialistic stuff. Some people condemn or complain about the soulessness of chasing after material things. But the people who do, are the ones who have failed to attain, and choose to put energy into their lack of what they want. As we move forward, what if we set aside our excuses, and simply go for what we want? we do not have to wait long to beginc receiving material rewards. We do not have to wait until we can afford a private jet (assuming you want one), to upgrade our car from an economy model to an entry luxury model. And we can celebrate our wins along the way, and experience incrementally better life experiences on the journey along the way.
It’s not even necessary to go all the way back to childhood to access your vision of the possibilities. At one time, as you started your business, you had a vision of where you wanted the business to go. Then the daily reality of paying bills, handling fires, calming down angry customers and employees, negotiating leases, getting training with the latest products from vendors, etc., created a packed schedule that feels very much like being in a hamster wheel, leaving no time for much else. The original vision of where you wanted the business to go went from a compelling goal, to something you’ll get around to once you are caught up with all the must-do items, then as you continued to push it further and futher into the future, it became more and more distant, until you realize one day that you are working very hard and not making very much money for the effort or risk, and things have not changed very much in years. And you may be wondering how much longer you care to continue in this way.
By starting a business, you took a big risk. There was no guarantee that the business could survive the first year. By statistics, the odds area against it. Yet, you felt the desire to get started. This is something not everyone is willing to do. One of the benefits of starting a business is (or should be) that you are compensated for the extra diligence and risk you take, to get it going. What does it mean when a business owner, after years of effort, often take less money than some of their employees? They think to themselves that they need to keep the business profitable, and the only way to show a profit is by paying a smaller amount to oneself. This is an unsustainable strategy, and amount to hiding the fact the business is losing money, to create cushion of comfort. It would be more honest to take stock of what the market value of the skills and experience the owner brings to the business, and pay that salary first as the highest priority, ahead of leases, ahead of vendors, ahead other employees. But the company doesn’t have enough money! You might be thinking. And also you would be looking at reality in the face, and you may feel finally compelled to take action to correct that situation. You can even implement this pay-yourself-first policy immediately, then loan the company some money as a temporary stopgap until you can get revenues up. Talk to your tax advisor for ramifications of this approach.
When you run a business without giving yourself enough financial rewards, you may also be failing to give yourself full recognition of the honor and glory of running a business. All of that may be getting lost in the daily chores. When the business runs more profitably, and pays you as the owner full pay (based on the full value of your skills and experience), plus potential additional profits to you as the owner, you start to feel empowered, and more in control of your destiny. You can begin to look at expansion ideas, and also your exit strategy – the business becomes a real financial asset that can be sold, like real estate. Until this is handled, you feel the dread thinking about despite years invested, the business has little or no resale value, because it cannot run without you, and the business cannot afford to pay a capable manager to take your place, because you have been underpaying yourself. Running a business profitably feels good and fits into your original vision of why you started the business. And it provides the financial means to grow yourself as a person, to be diligent about staying on track to live your childhood dreams.
So far we have only been considering your personal goals and dreams as it relates to your business. You know it’s not just about you. There is also your family. You may be thinking your family is more important to you than your business. Yet, it is by having your business reaching for its financial potential that you can provide your family with more. It may be hard to face, but your family is quietly counting on you to do the best you can with your business. They may not voice it because they are grateful for all you are doing to provide. Yet, they are rooting for your to succeed, not only because you might provide them with more material comforts and security, but most of all, so they can see you be happier, experience less stress, and have more time to spend with family – because they love you. If you do not already have a picture of your family in your office, and if it resonates with you, you may consider keeping the picture there to remind yourself that thy are counting on you, and business success is not about your ego and personal aggrandizement – it is about service and providing for your family. If that provides an additional element of motivation to move the business forward, that is a win-win-win for your family, yourself, and every stakeholder in your business.
You know that when the financials of a business are not healthy, as the owner, you are forced to find ways to cut costs. Sometimes this means finding legitimate waste and squeezing them out. And if this were all there was, it may not be such a bad thing to experience tough times. But there are cases where cost cutting represents cutting corners on quality of the customer’s experience, on what you know the employees deserve for their hard work, on the loyal vendors who you know should be paid on time, but get put into the net 60 queue, to make the cashflow work in a tight month. Just imagine how it would feel if you had the wherewithal to pay your employees everything you know they deserve, give them a generous benefits package, paid vendors on time every time, and showered customers with all the appreciation you can by upholding quality standards second to none. You may or may not hear verbal acknowledgement for doing this, but you know you will feel a huge difference in their energy towards you, the increased sense of respect and gratitude. Knowing that is possible, imagine you already have it. Would you trade that feeling for anything?
And again, we go back to your own past. You promised yourself as a child. You promised yourself when you started the business. And your promised yourself and your family to take good care of them. Your business was meant to soar, not just financially, also in terms of the good feelings it would bring you, taking care of all the employees, vendors, customers, delivering top notch service, and by this means, you know you can take great care of your family. It is a beautiful symmetry, and it is 100% on you to find a way to get there. It is a fact of human psychology that when the “why” is big enough, the “how” takes care of itself. And that is what we are working on right now. Pay close attention to your feelings and if you feel compelled, feel free to journal what comes up for you, what all of this means, as we go through this process.