Nobody starts a business wanting to work eighty-hour weeks for minimum wage. Or to put urgent client emails before quality family time. To spend holidays sat in a hotel room chasing invoices. Or to wake up dreading the day ahead.
And yet, these scenarios are far from uncommon.
In fact, as many as 95% of business owners feel trapped by their business. That feeling that you just can’t switch off because your income, your team, your lifestyle relies on you meeting your deadlines & targets. Or you might be frustrated because you’ve hit the ceiling of your company & you just can’t see to grow past a certain turnover.
Whatever end of the spectrum of being trapped you currently find yourself at, I want you to know that I’ve personally experienced both & I feel like it’s my duty to show you that it doesn’t have to be that way.
So stick with me in this blog where I’ll help you identify where the traps are in your business and how you can start freeing yourself.
How do you know if you’re trapped?
On the surface, it might not be obvious there’s a problem. You make enough to cover your costs and pay yourself a decent wage – that’s success right?
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that.
There are plenty of signs that something isn’t quite working in a business, but if any of the following sound familiar, then don’t stress, we won’t leave you here:
- You do everything in your business – even the stuff you hate doing
- If you stop working, the money stops flowing
- You barely spend quality time with your family because your business always needs your attention
- You don’t choose your working hours – you work when you’re needed, day or night and feel like a slave to your inbox
- Your team needs micromanaging & don’t care as much about the business as you
- You’ve fallen out of love with your business – there’s no fire in your belly anymore
- You feel like you constantly fight fires rather than work on the stuff you love or even have the time to think strategically about your business
- Work comes before everything else, but the money you earn doesn’t reflect the work you put in
- You don’t understand why you can’t scale up – when you’ve tried to increase your turnover or team you just hit a roadblock
- You often think about giving up and just getting a job instead
None of these make you feel inspired, motivated or excited to jump out of bed in the morning to start working on your business, and the longer you experience this groundhog day, the harder it will be to turn your business around.
But with the right approach, support and a little bit of work, you CAN pull yourself out of that rut and start building the business that you intended to create…
The four stages of success (or failure)
Every business owner is at one of four stages of the Freedom To Choose Business Model – get each stage right, and you’ll have a fantastic business and the lifestyle you want. Get them wrong, and you end up with a business that runs & owns you!
The RIGHT business
It might sound crazy, but one of the biggest reasons business owners fail is that they are building the wrong business.
This video https://youtu.be/hMu77XUyE0c gives an insight into how one of our clients, Andy found he was doing exactly that.
To build the right business, it’s essential to first be clear on the five key elements of your business purpose:
Your purpose – do you love what you do & does it relate to your big WHY and your values?
The difference you make to others – how do you add value? How are you serving & how does that exchange make you feel?
Your place in the market – is there an opportunity and demand? Are you building a business or a hobby?
Financial reward – what do you want to earn and what will you do with the money? How does your business model enable you to work your chosen hours?
Work-life balance – what will you do with your extra time? How does your business give you choices around your lifestyle?
Take some time to consider each of these five things and really think about whether your business is aligned with what you want to achieve.
Having the right business and knowing your financial goals is all well and good, but the next stage is actually achieving those goals.
Money is one of the biggest issues in small businesses with many business owners living hand to mouth or spending money before it’s even come in.
If you’re not earning enough from your business, this could be because:
- Your pricing is wrong
- You’re not attracting the right customers or have lead generation funnels in place
- You aren’t investing in the right things like software, team & systems
- You don’t prioritise your personal financial goals
- You’re not sweating your assets & selling more to existing customers
- You aren’t managing your cash flow or pipeline correctly
Fortunately, all these issues can be fixed, and the best part is it might not involve the major changes you think.
Getting control of your money will give you greater control over everything else and ultimately will give you the peace of mind to be able to sleep at night.
You can’t do everything yourself, and why on earth would you want to?
If you want a successful business, you’ve got to build the right team – whether that’s an in-house team or a team of external experts.
If you aren’t investing in building the right team, you’ll probably be experiencing one of these issues:
- You spend more time doing stuff you don’t like than the stuff you do
- You constantly work long hours and never seem to get to the end of the to-do list
- You can’t trust your team to get things done when you’re not there (yes we all discover that we’re control freaks, when we become a business owner)
- You can’t find people to recruit who align with your vision, values & care about making the business a success
- You micromanage your team & feel like you have to check everyone’s work
- You don’t trust anyone else to do the ‘important’ stuff
As a result, you probably feel stressed out and tired. And that will be having an impact on your relationships, your health and your happiness. Many people I work with state that it was easier to run their business when they had less staff & even though their turnover has increased so have their costs, so they personally don’t experience the benefit of the growth.
Take two minutes now to list everything you do in your business that is time-consuming, that you don’t enjoy or that doesn’t add value.
How many of those tasks could you outsource, delegate or just get rid of completely?
Too many business owners view outsourcing as an expense. But how much money could you make in the time you would save on delegating a task? If the answer is more than you’d spend on outsourcing, then it’s a no-brainer.
This is definitely the best stage to be at. You’ve got the right business, you’re making the money you want, and you’ve got a fantastic team behind you.
Now you have choice.
You can choose what you do in your business.
Who you work with.
How you work.
When you work.
And what you do with all that extra time and money you have.
Surely that’s the position you imagined you’d be in when you set out on your business journey?
The good news is all you need to do is nail the other three stages.
And you can advance through these stages by creating an effective plan, taking action and having the correct support.
It’s not about making massive changes or taking giant steps forward; it’s about making the right changes and taking the right steps, however big or small they might be.
So here’s a final task for you. Write down where you’d like to be in your business when you have the freedom to choose.
How often do you work (if ever)? What tasks do you work on (if any)? How much money do you earn?
Now let’s start making that ideal a reality.
This four-stage model underpins everything we do at Tendo. Our goal is to get our clients comfortably into stage four so they have the freedom to choose. It doesn’t matter where they are when we start working with them; it’s about getting them where they want to be.
We can help you get there too.
Unless you have the Freedom to Choose how, when and where you work, the reality is that your business will trap you.
But you can escape that trap and build a better business. You can break through the ceiling and take your next steps with confidence.
Running a business is tough and without the right plan, the right support and the right focus, it’s easy to become trapped. When you get to this stage, you often feel overwhelmed, stuck or uncertain as a business owner. Discover which one of four areas of your business is trapping you and how you can achieve the freedom to choose where, when and how you work. Take our Business Trap Diagnosis test here: tendo-uk.com/diagnosis