How to make relationships work while owning a small busniess

From RI CPA expert David Lucier’s book Six Steps to Small Business Success.

When you have a small business you enjoy, it is so easy for the business to consume your life. So before you address the systems you need to run your business, you first need to coordinate life and business. This chapter is about how to make sure you run your business and don’t let the business run your life. In the scheme of everything it takes to succeed in business, the advice in this chapter may be some of the most difficult to enact.

As you climb the ladder of success, you will find the climb speeds up if you work on your job and not in it and if you work smarter and not harder. By working on your job you need to rethink how you do things to make sure you are always taking the most efficient and best route. Whereas when you simply work in your job, you tend to be like a robot, going through the same motions you went through in the past. Those who work in their jobs will often use the argument, “That is the way we’ve always done it.” Don’t be afraid to rethink the old rules to improve on anything. There are two key concepts to consider here. First is how to make smart decisions about running the business. Second is coordinating personal and business life.

Most people go into business because they are technically very good at what they do. However, it is important to know what you don’t know. Henry Domke, a very successful photographer in a very specialized field of photography, put it best. Henry said, “People think I spend all my time in photography. Actually, I only spend 25 percent of my time on anything to do with photography. The other 75 percent is running the business, marketing, communications, and all the daily administrative work of business.” Thinking through what Henry said, I realized he put in very simple terms the reason most businesses fail. Most entrepreneurs are good at what they do, but they have no clue what else it takes to run a successful business. Thus, they only master 25 percent of what it takes to have a successful business. Anyone with their own business needs to step back and make sure they work on their business and not in their business.

Strategic Coach® is an entrepreneurial coaching organization that works with successful individuals to help them increase their income while also increasing their free time. One of the concepts taught by Strategic Coach is “Unique Ability,” which is the essence of what you love to do and do best, in all areas of your life. It is a tool that identifies your unique talent and passion, and allows you to create value with maximum satisfaction and success. It’s important for you to focus solely on your Unique Ability® ActivitiesTM and to delegate any tasks that do not fall into your area of Unique Ability to others who do have a Unique Ability in those areas. This frees you up to focus only on what you do best, leading to higher productivity, greater results, and a more enjoyable way of life.iii For more information on the Strategic Coach® program and the Unique Ability® concept, please visit their website

Family and friends are number one. As the author who had to put this section to words, I had to look back at my personal life. The person from whom I learned the most about life is my wife and best friend. I must admit I was a slow learner and I probably failed more courses than

she cares to admit, but she taught me that family is truly the most important part of life. I always wanted my kids to be perfect because, of course, I was, and rather than let them experience things for themselves, I always wanted to do things for them or correct things when they got done. Over time I finally learned that the best way to learn is through our own failures. I also realized that if we didn’t have time for our kids when they were young, why should we expect them to want to make time for us later in life? If you only take one piece of advice from this book, take this one I learned from my wife: There is nothing more precious in life than family, and no one ever said on their deathbed that they wished they had worked more.

On a recent business trip we were with a very successful business owner, and during our conversations he spoke of the time he held a gun to his head but at the last second could not pull the trigger. He had been an extremely successful salesman, and the company he worked for assigned him a private jet in which he would fly around the country to give motivational talks. One day his wife told him he either needed to give it up or he would have no family, so he decided to retire to farming his one thousand­ acre farm. Six months later, when there were no longer any crowds and no one looked up to him at every turn, he decided to commit suicide because there was no longer any value to life. As he sat with the gun to his head, he heard the Lord tell him, “If you stop taking all the credit and start giving the credit, I will give you all the riches you could ever want.”

After that he started his own very successful business, which today he has handed over to his children, and he now spends a lot of his time doing charitable work and helping others. We all like to feel indispensable, but in reality we are not the most important people in other people’s lives. It is not about you! In summary, you need to understand that a successful business involves so much more than being a very good technician. You need to learn the other 75 percent of what it takes to run the business and regularly set uninterrupted time to work on your business and not in your business. Then, once you go home, make family the same priority you made your business when you were at work, and understand the world does not revolve around you. As a business owner, if you implement the items discussed in this chapter you will experience what others have found. You will have a substantial increase in profitability of your business and a substantial increase in time off for personal life.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the lifestyle adjustments that come with successful business, let’s get to the daily details of running the business. No business operates without a good understanding of financing, so let’s start there.

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Lucier CPA, Inc. 1308 Atwood Ave, Johnston, RI 02919 (401) 946-1900