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Edition 411 – The Vortex

You start off in business and take any work that is offered to you. As a former consultant that we used to engage in my former accounting practice, David Connell, once remarked, if they had the smell of a cheque book, they became a client.

As work builds, you’re working long hours. So, you employ staff. If they have a heartbeat, they’re on the payroll before the week is out.

You need a couple of vehicles, so you upgrade yours and arrange one for your employee. Debt can be a great motivator, and the new car shows to the world you’re kicking some goals.

The level of enquiry increases and you need bigger premises. Working out of the back shed, or in the corner of someone else’s office, no longer marries with where you’re at in business. So, you take on a place of your own.

The problem with this tale is that small and family business owners continue on the journey of acquisition, without questioning what they’re acquiring, and why they’re acquiring it.

In a recent meeting with a client, as we’re working through their plan for the business, they acknowledged there is a bunch of work they’re doing in their business, that they don’t want to be doing. It’s low profit, high stress and doesn’t fit with where the business owner wants to be professionally. Yet, the work is taken on as there are bills to pay, mouths to feed and loan commitments to make. Eventually, the business becomes a vortex, sucking everything and everyone into its path.

Why are we like this?

Why do we take on work that we really don’t want to do?

Why are we dealing with clients that don’t respect us, or, sometimes, don’t pay us?

Why don’t we stop to truly ask ourselves, is this what I want out of business and therefore, out of life?

In the work that I undertake with my clients, I start first not with the business, but with the family and the individuals in that family? What is it they want out of life? What purpose do they want their lives to be serving? What’s important to them in life?

Once you’ve taken the time to ponder this, and answer truthfully, in the company of your life partner, you can then question whether the business you have built is helping you and your family to live their best life? Or whether it is strangling you and the relationships around you.

It takes true commitment and honesty to swim against the vortex. A lot consider it. Few jump into the water. Even fewer fight against the power of it once they’re in. It’s those very few that truly build the kind of business that best serves them and their family.

This Week’s Tip

Have you ever noticed that the power of running away from pain is stronger than that of running towards pleasure?