Whenever I sit down to begin work with a new client, I always ask, “What do you really want from your business?”
Sometimes people are in such a state of frustration that it takes them a while to be able to articulate the answer. But when they finally put their finger on it, here are the top ten responses I usually get:
- “I want my business to really work. I’m tired of something always going wrong just when things begin to go my way. I need consistent, good performance in both good times and bad times. I need to better predict the future and have a plan for it.”
- “I want my people to work together as a team. I can’t stand all the bickering going on between different people/departments. I want them to cooperate with each other and work together for the good of the company.”
- “I want to make more money. I work too hard and risk too much without getting the financial return that should go with it. I want my debts paid off, good cash flow, and money left over for some of the wonderful things I’ve always wanted in my life.”
- “I want to sleep at night. I have too much to do and I’m constantly worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow. For once, I’d like to be able to walk into the office in the morning without finding a crisis waiting for me.”
- “I want good people to delegate my work to; people I can trust to get things done right the first time. I am frustrated with my employees, and I can’t seem to find enough good ones.”
- “I want to stop fighting fires every single day. I’m tired of crisis and reactionary management. I put out one fire only to find a new one as soon as I turn around. I wish I could prevent them in the first place.”
- “I want to build my business into a legacy. I want to pass it on either to my children or my employees, or to a good buyer who will continue my life’s work and maintain the reputation I’ve built.”
- “I want a business I can sell later to secure my retirement and my family’s future.”
- “I want NOT to work with certain people anymore, but I don’t know how to transition. I have a vendor/customer/partner/employee that is a bad fit for me. They just aren’t worth the hassle, but they are so valuable that I’m afraid of what getting rid of them would cost me.”
- “I want to take a REAL vacation – for a week, two or even three weeks – and know that everything will go well while I’m gone and there won’t be a giant mess waiting for me when I return.”
All these answers are generally followed by some version of the same statement:
“I want a business that serves my life instead of consuming it. I treasure my family and my friends, but my business keeps me from being with them. Time is flying by, and I’m missing so much.”
I have observed that about 95% of business owners never get even half of the things they really want from their companies.
Over the years, I’ve made note of what the other five percent do – the ones who are the most successful and are getting what they want. I’ve studied how they operate, and they all have one thing in common: a system.
Successful companies with happy owners have a method of operating that allows them to address all the critical areas of the business while making sure they do the same fundamental things consistently, relentlessly, and at every level throughout the company. Their employees know what the company’s purpose is and they understand their own role in fulfilling it.
I was trying to invent and document such a system that would work in any industry so I could use it with my clients when I discovered that someone else had already done it!
I found a system that can be learned and used by an entire leadership team – the entrepreneur, the head of sales & marketing, head of operations, and head of finance – all at the same time. That means they are all on the same page; they have all bought into the disciplines necessary to achieve a shared vision, gained the traction they need to make that vision a reality, and done it through healthy relationships with one another and with their employees, partners, customers and vendors.
The system I discovered was EOS™ , the Entrepreneurial Operating System™ . And if you read my “Why I Do It” page, you’ll learn that the reason I am so passionate about it is because it is so effective at helping entrepreneurs avoid being devoured by their businesses the way my father was.
It allows entrepreneurs, including myself, to live what we call “The EOS Life”. It’s a lifestyle of freedom; not only financial freedom, but freedom from worry, with the ability to do only the work we enjoy, and freedom to spend time away from work doing the things we want to do with the people we love.
We who live The EOS Life can go on real vacations or take off some afternoons to play golf or coach our kid’s little league team. I personally take off an afternoon each week to hang out on my boat! The bottom line is that running our businesses according to a system is the only reason we can enjoy this kind of freedom.
Does this sound too good to be true? Too simple? People tell me that sometimes.
Well, it is truly simple, but “simple” is not the same as “easy”. While the process is not complex, it can be painful at times, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
It may seem hard to wait for the results you want, but if you’re an entrepreneur who is already in a world of business pain, what would you like to be doing, say, two years from now: living a lifestyle of freedom or spinning your wheels in the same rut you’re in now?
The good news is that you actually start seeing results immediately.
And my clients all agree that the results are totally worth any difficulty they may have encountered along the way. They frequently tell me, “I wish I had implemented EOS ten years ago.” One former entrepreneur even told me, “If I had known about EOS, I would never have sold my business and gone to work for somebody else.”
If you want to be one of the successful five percent, pick an operating system – it doesn’t have to be EOS (but you won’t find a better one!) – and get started on it right away. Without a solid system, you will never be able to create the kind of company you want or enjoy the lifestyle you went into business to achieve in the first place.
If you’d like to find out if EOS and I are right for you, then click the button below and request a discovery call today!
“After 50 years in business, we had an entirely new leadership team, and I went in search of a management training program or a team building regimen that would increase our chances of success together.
“We began to see results from implementing EOS immediately, and the difference was dramatic.
“The first thing that changed was the way we communicate. EOS has eliminated a lot of the drama that used to characterize many of our interactions with one another. No one is competing to get their own way; we are all working together for the same goal, and that is the foundation now of everything we do.
“I think of Ken as sort of a physical trainer for business. You hire a physical trainer to teach you how to use specific exercises and combine them with a proper diet and supplements to achieve a defined result. And in theory, you can teach yourself all the things a physical trainer would by using books and videos. But there’s nothing like having someone to hold you accountable for every workout and what you do between your sessions with him. That’s what Ken does for us, and it is delivering results.”
-Charlie Regan, Jr., Gorrie-Regan
About Ken DeWitt
Kenneth C. DeWitt is founder of DeWitt LLC, an Alabama-based business strategy execution and coaching firm. DeWitt is a life-long entrepreneur, having been a founding member of two accounting firms, as well as having partnership in other businesses in the retail, agriculture, consumer finance, overseas travel, and commercial real estate industries. DeWitt specializes in helping entrepreneurs and CEOs create highly profitable businesses that serve and enrich their lives rather than control them.
During his 30 year career, DeWitt has served over 150 companies with revenues from $1 million to $50+ million as a trusted advisor through his CPA and interim CFO practices. His extensive experience has taught him what works — and what does not work — in building valuable businesses that are worth owning, and he brings this to bear in helping organizations implement strategic initiatives that reduce frustrations and improve profits, cash flows, banker relationships, and quality of life for the owners.
DeWitt is a published author of two books and over 300 articles on financial and business matters. He has a combined 14 years’ experience as a regular columnist for The Tuscaloosa News and the Commercial Carrier Journal, and frequently publishes op-ed pieces in the Birmingham Business Journal and other periodicals. His monthly newsletter, Alabama Entrepreneur, currently has over 1,500 subscribers and is aimed at helping business leaders get more of what they want out of their companies.
DeWitt holds a B.S. in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Alabama.