Deciding when your Business is Mature, and How To Pick a Date to get there.
As a business owner, Business Maturity isn’t about how big your business gets or how much revenue it generates. It’s about 1) your own ability to choose what to do with your time, and 2) the ability to walk away from your business for weeks or longer and have it still make money while you’re not there.
You could decide that it means that the leadership is completely turned over to others and the business is ready to be sold. But at a minimum, a business is not Mature if you are still necessary to the daily production of products/services (there is a difference between being necessary and being able to choose to personally produce.)
Here’s how to paint a good picture of what your Mature Business looks like:
- Know your Lifetime Goals. (Why are you doing this? To what end??)
- Calculate the cost of the Ideal Situation for living out those Lifetime Goals.
- Decide WHEN you want to be in that Ideal Situation. Stop reading here if you don’t want to put a date on when you get to your Ideal Situation. Growing a Mature Business won’t matter enough to you to actually do it.
- Decide what salary/cash you need to support your Ideal Situation.
- Make your best prediction of how much revenue your business will need to generate to allow you to pull the salary/cash you need to support your Ideal Situation.
- Make your best guess at how your business will do this. There are three ways to make money when you’re not around.
- Talent – The painter Renoir bought his massive French villa w/ two paintings, and his car with a pencil sketch. If you have unique talents then you can charge enough per hour to work very few hours. The problem with this approach is that it’s a crapshoot to have your talent recognized at this level, and your business really never matures because it still relies on you to produce. If you get sick or injured or worse, the revenue stream stops.
- Employees – this is the most common way to make money when you’re on vacation – buy someone else’s 40 hours a week at a discount, and resell it to your customers at a premium. The difference creates profit for you even when you’re not there.
- Products/Services – If you don’t want employees and you’re not über-talented, you can create products or services that you can license to others to produce. Or you can franchise your services for others to deliver, or create online software, products, or services that need very little maintenance.
- Paint as clear a picture as you can of what your Mature Business looks like in terms of the salary/cash it provides you, the time it allows you to use in other ways, and how the what will produce the revenue (Talent, Employees, or Products/Services), then
- Pick a Business Maturity Date – the single most important step in the process. If you don’t want to do this, don’t bother with Steps 1-7.
Don’t torture this – you’ll know you have a good enough picture when you’re excitement level for getting there has gone way up. If you have an Objective that is motivating enough, you will figure out the steps required along the way to get there.
Do you know what Business Maturity looks like for your business? Are you completely committed to a Business Maturity Date that you’ve gone public with? If so, welcome to the 3to5Club (see earlier posts)! Describe your Mature Business and your Business Maturity Date here – let’s get moving together!