The Toughest Choice You’ll Ever Make as a Business Owner (and you’re probably unaware it’s even a choice you’ve made!)
See if any of this sounds familiar: Your day starts out with an overfull to-do list, one you know you won’t even have time to tackle as the day brings conflicting demands and urgent matters you must deal with right away.
What you might now realize is that a choice you made, likely without any conscious awareness, is directly influencing your company’s growth and future.
It’s the choice of the guiding principle you use to organize how you scale your company.
Choice #1: Control
If you feel like you have to stay in charge, make the key decisions (or at least review them to make sure they were made correctly), and that if you don’t stay on top of all the details of your business mistakes will get made and those mistakes will damage your company, then you’re likely building your company from a control-frame.
Business owners who build from the control frame of reference think that the only way to really grow is by personally working harder and producing more.
Sometimes they say things like, “I tried to hand things off in the past and it didn’t work.” Or they say, “I’m the only one who can do it.”
What they don’t realize is that this background frame – that they should stay in control of every key aspect of their business – is costing them and their company the future they desperately want.
When you examine the belief that the business owner should build from the control frame two reactions are most common.
First, some business people say, “Of course the owner has to stay up to speed on everything. If he or she doesn’t then they are just asking for a rude awakening.” It’s as if these business leaders see the choice as “stay in control” or “let the inmates rule the asylum.”
This is a straw man though. When you read through the second choice – building from the freedom-frame – what you’ll see is that you do have a much more potent choice available for you, one that both protects the business and allows it to sustainably scale.
The second common reaction is to say that while the owner understands that in theory that by building for control the owner is limiting his or her company, and weakening it too, but their specific business is different, special, or an exception to this rule. What they don’t realize is the expensive cost to this belief that their case is different.
Let’s look at the second choice you have available to you as the owner of a business…
Choice #2: Freedom
When you build your company from the freedom-frame you prioritize the scalability of your company over the short-term comfort of staying in direct control of the key details of your company.
Instead, you develop your leadership team – people whom you trust to make smart choices that matter for your business.
You implement systems and establish intelligent internal controls that protect the business and give it the structure upon which to sustainably scale.
In essence, when you build from the freedom-frame you do all you can to continually reduce your company’s reliance on any one person, including yourself the owner of the business.
- Take 15 minutes to journal about which frame from which you are operating your business. Ask yourself, “If I were an outside observer, what would my behaviors reveal my frame of reference to really be—control or freedom?” Journal your thoughts.
- Brainstorm 10 ways you would behave if you were building your company from the freedom-frame. Pick two of these behaviors to focus on acting consistent with over the next 30 days.
- Invest 30 minutes to explore on paper what you are really afraid will happen if you build your company from the freedom-frame. List out your fears and concerns. Then list out what would have to happen in order for you to be comfortable with letting go of just 10% more control in the daily operation of your business. This will give you a short-list of action steps you need to take as a company to progress on your goal of scaling your company.
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