Archive for January, 2009

Balancing Your Checkbook

Posted: 29th January 2009 by David Saint-Onge in Uncategorized

When you consider the technical issues faced by every business executive, balancing a checkbook is perhaps the simplest task.  It’s taught in every high school Business 101 class.  Although everyone says they know how to balance a checkbook, I’ll bet half of America does not know how to do it.  Yeah, they might cheat a little and do it their own way, but they don’t really know how to balance a checkbook.

Now think of your professional life as a checkbook.  Every motivational speaker attests to the need to find balance in your life; much like a checkbook.  If you balance work, family, health and personal time, success is yours, so say the experts.  So as your workday progresses through meetings, emails, report editing, resolving human resource issues, and paying bills, do you ever ask yourself how you became so out of balance?

Think about it.  If you are a hard working business owner, eager to achieve the next success, are you doing so at the expense of your family?  Do you take time for yourself or are you constantly succumbing to the needs of your employees, clients/customers, and partners/shareholders?  Do you make time to keep physically fit, or do you feel guilty if you go for a run or head off to the gym?  I began to realize that with everything in life, not only did I have to balance my financial checkbook, but I also needed to balance my social, family, health, and professional checkbooks as well.  Understanding and addressing this balance is the first step in exiting your business.

For most business owners, an unbalanced checkbook is not unusual.  It is the result of the daily grind of life.  You know the process, the workweek starts and you commute to work, do your job, eat lunch, do your job some more, travel back home, eat dinner, read the paper, help the kids with their homework or cut the lawn, watch some TV, have a snack, and go to sleep. Day Two is a repeat of Day One, and so on, and so on.  Next thing you know, it’s Friday.  You blast through the weekend, and alas, it’s the start of another week.  This entire process repeats at warp speed until one day you realize your business is on automatic pilot and you are ready to leave.  No major accomplishments achieved; no dreams realized.  This is an unbalanced life checkbook, but a checkbook nonetheless.

If this is you, maybe it’s time to go back to a Business 101 refresher course. It will help you and your business.

The Core Problem with Most Businesses

Posted: 6th January 2009 by David Saint-Onge in Uncategorized
Comments Off

When you really sit down and reflect on your business, there are certain things you do well and some you do not.  Given the nature of the typical persona, most entrepreneurs think they do everything well, but that’s simply not true.  You rely on your accountant to help with your financial reporting; you rely on your lawyer to keep you out of legal trouble; and, if you have a good business, you rely on a core group of staffers to help you run the business.  But for many business owners, you maintain control of every situation, giving very little authority to your key lieutenants.  This is the core problem with most businesses.

 

There is a catch however.  Inasmuch as you expect your employees to do what you tell them to do, many times it’s the business owner who drops the ball.  Sure, you have plenty on your plate, like strategizing, making payroll, paying bills, and appeasing customers/clients.  But the reality is that many business owners simply put too much on their own shoulders, then get frustrated when they cannot produce the results they want.

 

It is imperative to understand and accept the fact that you are not good at everything; no entrepreneur is.  For a business to be successful, it must have the capacity to operate well when the owner is not in the building.  To help you achieve this important goal, God created the art of ‘delegation’.  Good business owners know what they do well, and they delegate everything else.  The key to success however, is making sure everything gets done, regardless of who is responsible.

 

Good delegation saves time and money.  Poor delegation will lead to greater frustration, and will de-motivate your staff.   But a good business owner does not delegate and walk away.  You must follow-up to ensure everything gets done; and when it doesn’t, there must be consequences.

 

Here is the shocker:  if you are looking for an internal sale of your business (that is a sale to an existing staffer), then delegation is the primal ingredient in your ability to leave your firm.  It is the critical component in profitable operations, minimization of risk, and succession planning. For both the business owner and the successor, you are both challenged to grow the business into a thriving organization. When this happens everyone can move on to higher things. When it fails, business progression stalls and you have to start your succession plan all over….again.