-I want to be more independent. -I like meeting the needs of a marketplace. -I am buying myself a job. -I need something to do to make money in semiretirement or retirement.
Stop referring to yourself as the owner or manager. Become the steward — an individual who is in charge of managing the affairs of someone else. As a company director the law states you are obligated to put the company’s needs ahead of your own.
I was sitting in John’s office beginning a consulting engagement when he revealed that he had spent two years in jail. He was the director of a company whose manager had embezzled $100,000 and left the country. The government could not find the manager so they held John and his partner accountable. The courts put them both in jail. The court found that they were guilty of fraud. They did not steal the money or commit any fraud personally. As company directors the court held them accountable for negligence and failing to exercise due diligence. Due Diligence is exercising due care and attention to an important business issue (see Chapter 21 for more detail on performing a due diligence inspection when buying a business).
With the owners sitting in jail and the manager nowhere to be found the company was unable to sustain operations. You cannot win if you get kicked out of the game. Stop playing to win or lose. Manage and make decisions so that you are able to stay in the game.
Once I realized that my decisions would affect someone else’s circumstances, I saw everything in a new light. No longer could I tell myself that “It does not matter. No one will fire me.” What would happen if you approached every decision as if you were a steward? Personally, it woke me from a deep slumber of self-importance and an ego on steroids. No longer could I make decisions in the vacuum of my own thoughts. Now I enjoy clarity managing the business.
TIP: Operating as a steward is a higher standard of accountability. No longer will you view results as a win or a loss. You will find yourself thinking about what you can do to “stay in the game” instead of trying to win or lose. You will find yourself asking and answering questions like “Is this in the best interests of the business? What would my mother or father think of this decision?” It will simplify your life and ensure that you do not make decisions in the vacuum of your own thoughts.
If you think being in business is about “buying myself a job,” or “something to do to make money,” or “I want to be more independent,” you are a little off track. Running a business has more to do with serving and “meeting the needs of a marketplace” than making money. If your only reason to be in business is to make money, you will struggle to really make a good living. No business can flourish without a keen focus on meeting or exceeding the needs and expectations of a marketplace.