In my many years of being involved in the technical trades, and it’s been a while, I have seen small companies start and stop.  Some fail within a few months of opening, most fail within 5 years of opening and only a few exceptional companies grow into huge organizations.  The difference is that the businesses that only last a few years are owned by Business Operators and not business owners.

What’s the difference I hear you ask and it’s quite a profound difference.  Most tradespeople open their own business in order to replace their income.  This means that for the 10 to 15 years prior to opening that business they’ve been working for someone else, earning a decent but insufficient paycheque while working long hard hours to attempt to please that someone else’s customers, which in turn would please that someone else and thereby wishfully increasing that paycheque.  Usually a pretty frustrating situation.  Ask me how I know this.  Yup, I’m one of those guys whose business failed within 5 years of going into a partnership with a friend.  I simply kept doing what I got into the habit of doing before making the partnership.  I was in the habit of doing whatever came next.  So was my partner.  We had a really sketchy vision of what we both wanted and as we continued to do what was next, the sketchy vision turned into a blur and when my end of the deal wasn’t being upheld I did what I was in the habit of doing and I bailed.  I went to work for someone else again.

So why did I fail to fulfill my dream?  I didn’t have the leadership skills I needed to keep that partnership together and to inspire the remainder of the staff to do better.  I was a shitty leader.  My focus was on getting the work done and worrying about how much money I was spending to keep the company going.  So instead of letting go of the worries and doubts and trusting my partner and my staff more, I worried myself sick.  Working stupidly long hours and creating a fracture in my marriage.  Micromanaging all the work done by the mechanics we employed because I didn’t trust them to do things right.  Sound familiar?

Since then I’ve come to know that business owners are people who are calm, confident, and knows how to inspire others.  They are exceptional leaders.  They don’t micromanage, they let their team members make mistakes and help them correct the mistakes they make.  They don’t worry about the bottom line or how much money the company is spending, they focus on and are grateful for how much money they do have in their accounts and how much more money is about to arrive.  They take the time to look after their health physically, mentally, and spiritually.  They’re grateful for the life they have and they are constantly and consistently working on improving themselves every day.  They envision their company being successful and having nothing but positive results.  They have a clearly defined vision of what they want their lives to be.  things like how much personal income they want, how big they have to grow their company in order to create that personal income, what it would mean to their employees, customers, shareholders, family, and community if they were to manifest this vision they’ve created.  Then they share that vision with their employees and ask their teams to help them manifest the vision.  In return for helping them reach their goal the business owner doesn’t just pay the employee, they inspire them.  Owners inspire their people to achieve their own personal and professional goals.  Employee goals are always in alignment with the company goals because the owner has shared the vision they have of their future company with their employees.  This allows the employees the freedom to take on responsibilities and challenges that they may have never considered.  This allows the employees to make better decisions because they have a clear vision of both the company and their personal goals.  The employees have the freedom to co-create a better work environment, new products, new services that the company can provide.  That allows the employees to grow through making mistakes and learning from them.  Actually, mistakes are mitigated because the employees are working in harmony toward a common goal.

There are side benefits too.  Losses are mitigated.  You know what I mean, the losses of things going missing.  Things like tools and supplies that are marked as “Consumables”.  Employees that are engaged in achieving a goal are less likely to “borrow” a tool or consumable for personal use when they realize that the tool is something they need to do their work and the consumable still costs the company money.  It’s amazing what a goal will do.  It’s also amazing how big the bottom line grows.

Becoming an exceptional leader means breaking old bad habits ( doing what comes next ) and creating good new habits ( inspiring others ).  This means taking time for yourself.  This means studying personal development material and doing the work necessary to creating those new good habits and tossing the old bad habits in the trash.  Doing the work to make this happen is FUN!  It’s also hard because you have to be consistent and persistent.  A mindset trainer helps to keep you on track for greater success.