I think businesses should grow up. I don’t mean “it would be nice if it happened.” I mean we should all, every one of us, expect our businesses to grow up and start giving back to us and to the world around us. We should assume that at some point in the first few years our business would move from survival right through success to significance.
There are many artificial constructs in life that mark various stages of maturity, but the only artificial event we’ve been given in business that tells us we’ve arrived is “selling the business”. The problem is almost no one actually wants to grow a business just to sell it anymore than we want to raise children with the express purpose of never seeing them again.
So we spend decades changing the diapers in our business and continue spending as much time, emotion, and money on our business as we did the day it was born. Why would we so eagerly anticipate the maturity of our children and never expect the same for our business?
If you want a mature business you can enjoy for decades and that makes money while you’re on vacation you might need a new view of business to get there. For years your business has trained you to focus on making money (and other unproductive distractions), and unfortunately when you look at other businesses you see that most of them are focused on making money, too. But these “average” businesses all set a bad example for us.
The point? It’s not normal to have a business that never grows up. It’s clearly average; everybody’s doing it, but it is definitely not normal. I intend for my business to have the minimum basics of maturity (run and make money without me while I’m on vacation and not be a mess when I get back) on February 18, 2011, at 10am, which is four years after I started the business. I believe that’s normal and that any business can get to this minimum level of maturity in 3to5Years from the printing of a business card.
Are you building a business that will depend on you for decades, or give back to you and the world around you for years to come? We get what we intend, not what we hope for. Don’t intend to work hard and just hope your business will grow up. It doesn’t work that way. Intend for your business to grow up so you won’t have to work so hard the rest of your life. Intend to move your business from survival right through success to significance.
Intentionality is everything.