Defining Business Owner ‘Success’

success for a business owner
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In the 14 or so years that I’ve been building my own business, Serviced Offices International, we’ve met a lot of business owners, many of whom have been extremely successful and grown from one person to many. We’ve even seen some clients build and ‘flip’ their businesses for goodly sums of money. Which is always exciting to see.

Is that the only definition of ‘success’ for a business owner?

There are some coaching and business club institutions out there that really push the concept of huge growth – always chasing more, faster, bigger, etc. It’s like there’s never enough (and that, in turn, keeps those coaches and business associations in business!!). For some people that’s great – it’s exactly what they want.

But contrary to popular belief, huge growth or flipping for vast sums of money is not the only definition of business owner success.

What’s your success intention?

True success all depends on what your intention is when you’re starting your business.

If you want to build the next Apple, Facebook, Instagram, etc and sell it for gazillions – then growth, profit, scalability, world domination, etc is certainly what you’re going to have to achieve.

But, maybe you’re wanting a smaller version of where you are now or worked previously but saw flaws in. You want to build a solid business that will stand the test of time, leave a legacy for your family, staff members, or be an industry showcase. In which case, slow, steady measured growth over a several of years (in terms of turnover, client spread or team size) to where you’re wanting to go might be the answer. Trying to do it all at once is likely to burn you (and/or your team) out.

If, however, you’re a corporate refugee who’s after more time for your family, dog, study, travel, self – whatever it is for you, then going after huge growth – at least in the short term – is going to impact negatively on that.

And for some things like being with your kids or travelling before you’re ‘too old’ to do it comfortably, that’s a finite period of time. So you don’t necessarily want to be spending all your time ‘scaling up’ so you can do the things you dream of only to find you’ve run out of time and your kids have left home already (or whatever your equivalent is).

Define what business owning success looks like for you

Do you know what your definition of success looks like? Have you taken a moment to write it down? If not, now’s the time.

Think about what you can put in place to help you achieve that success – it might be outsourcing admin to claw back time, blocking out every second Wednesday in your diary to play golf, moving from home to a CBD office to change your headspace, etc.

Once you’ve written it down – have you put it somewhere you’ll see it day after day, so you can track yourself against it. And yes, you need to track – otherwise, you can get ‘off course and get caught up in what others’ think success should be for you. Here’s a case in point.

Don’t get caught up in others’ definitions of success

A business owner I know took part in a high growth coaching course recently. Her business turnover well more than doubled as a result. From the outside that’s sensational. But the cost to her personally and to her young family was huge. She gave up everything she loved about her life to wrangle her high-growth business for a year – 7 days a week – 80 hours+ every week – no holidays.

Yes, she loved what she did, but by the end she was totally exhausted and probably a lot closer to divorce than she might have liked.

Along the way, she discovered that her definition of success wasn’t more money, more hours, more work, more clients, more staffers – but rather that she and her team had the time to devote to doing great and meaningful work for clients and could investigate the latest technology for their clients. That and personally being able to walk her daughter home from school at least one afternoon a week and make it home in time to make/eat dinner with the family most nights.

No longer part of that coaching program, this year, she’s scaling it back slightly – to regain her sense of balance (and she says – her sanity!!). She’s focussing on what’s important to her this year and that’s her definition of success.


What’s yours?

If we can help you better achieve your definition of success through outsourced admin, phone answering or office or meeting space, we’d be delighted to help. You can reach us on 9994 8000 or drop us a note here.


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Article by Buck Samrai

August 27, 2013