A number of years ago, I was speaking with a local accountant – you know the type … a professional.
Apparently … a professional business advisor. What I heard led to the creation of Strategic Mentors.
That has led to the development of business owners living with all 3Fs – Financial Security, Freedom and Fulfilment and many more who have escaped day rates to work with less clients, work less hours … and earn more!
The conversation with the accountant changed everything.
It was a conversation that made me angry.
Let’s call this accountant John. That’s not his real name, but it wouldn’t be fair to use his real name.
I was in conversation with John about the levels of success his clients were experiencing. The typical client for his firm was an owner-manager of a small business. They had revenues of less than £1m, and would have an OK profit – enough to pay the bills and afford a reasonable summer holiday.
I asked him how he helped those clients scale up so the owners could enjoy a bigger, better, easier life.
He looked at me like I had asked if he spoke Martian.
“What I find,” he said, “is that they grow for a few years, and then reach a level where they plateau. There’s a ceiling to their business.” Then he said the line that made me angry.
“That’s just the way it is.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing …!
Here was someone who understood business … Someone who gets paid handsomely for being a professional business ADVISOR. And his opinion was that “that’s the way it is”! As if there is some pre-defined natural level that his clients – for some reason – had to accept they were trapped by.
“John, are you saying that your clients can’t grow bigger than they are right now?” … I wanted to check I’d heard him right.
“That seems to be the way of it,” he replied. “They reach a reasonable level of income, and then stay there.”
That was the moment everything changed for me.
That was the moment I KNEW that this wasn’t only John’s view. This would be the view of MANY accountants and advisors. It may even be the view of MOST advisors!
And yet it’s a view that is totally wrong.
There IS NO level that is pre-determined for a business’s “right size”.
There IS NO reason why a business owner can’t take their business to the next level.
There IS NO reason why that bigger business can’t be EASIER to run than the existing business!
I knew this because I’d helped many businesses do this already. And not only had I done this … so had a friend of mine who’s an expert in scaling businesses.
That friend became my business partner, and together we created Strategic Mentors for this very reason.
It is true to say that a business will stay at a certain level unless something changes.
You see, to build a business from scratch to something that’s successful takes a certain approach, a certain style, a certain skill set.
And, typically, the skills, style and approach that built the business from the start DO have a scale-limit. But the BUSINESS does not have that limit!
It is NOT pre-determined, or a law of nature. It is a reflection of the WAY in which it’s run.
That’s a massively important distinction: it’s not the BUSINESS that has the scale-limit – it’s the management THINKING and the management APPROACH that create the limit. And the great news is, THOSE CAN BE CHANGED.
Of course, “changing approach” is difficult when the evidence is that this approach has been successful so far.
It takes insight, confidence and openness to realise that change is NECESSARY to break through to the next level.
Apparently, John didn’t have that insight, confidence or openness. Maybe he didn’t have the capability either …
We’ll never know. (Actually we DO know, because his own firm is stuck at “his” level of success – no breakthrough for him either. Which is sad and ironic, if you think about it.)
The reality is that “change” is tricky, and can be risky.
If a business-owner isn’t clear WHAT to change, nothing happens.
If they’re not clear HOW to change, then there’s a risk that they TRY and it goes wrong.
But if they DO know how to change (usually with experienced guidance and support from a mentor) then they can be proof that John WAS wrong.
And it’s GREAT news that he’s wrong!
The truth is businesses do NOT have a pre-determined limit. It’s also true that the key to the next level is held by the OWNER-MANAGER …
Change THEIR thinking and approach (in a well-structured way, keeping risk as low as possible) and the business is, effectively, RELEASED for further growth.
What’s more, scaling the business in this way makes it actually EASIER to run … which allows even further scale too.
That’s how one conversation led to the creation of Strategic Mentors, and gave birth to the defined approach we now use to help our clients scale their businesses so they’re easier to run. Consequently, they get Financial Security and Freedom.
What they can then do is another part of our mission – to have FULFILMENT.
So now I’m curious, what belief do YOU have about business limits and owner’s skills and necessary changes?
For more insights into how to achieve the 3Fs for yourself, click here …