Unless you’ve had personal experience with it, business coaching is probably a bit of a mystery. Do business coaches just walk in and fix the broken parts of your business? Are they only there to motivate and support, or do they get down in the weeds with you? In our 40+ years coaching owners to be entrepreneurs, we’ve cleared up a lot of confusion about what coaching is—and what it isn’t.
When you think about your business, what do you see as your product?
Is it the commodity you sell? The service you provide? The community you help build?
Or is it the business itself?
In all my years as an EMyth Coach, I’ve seen my clients make many crucial shifts to their mindsets, but one of the most transformative is based on this idea: If you want to create a business that works—that can grow to provide the life you’ve always dreamed of—you have to think of your business as the product.
If you sent your team a text today telling them you were never coming back, what would happen? Would your business be able to operate just as well without you?
If the answer is “no,” it’s safe to say that you’ve built your business around your own ability to get things done. If that’s true, your business may be giving you the satisfaction of being “the one” everyone depends on, but at what cost?
Maybe you’re frequently frustrated that your people can’t seem to do things like you do.
Maybe you’re spending a lot of time working without feeling you’re getting anywhere.
Maybe things are just too chaotic and unpredictable.
These are big prices to pay—too big for the investment you’ve made to make your dreams come true.
Take a moment to think about your business. Go ahead—picture your typical work day. What does that picture look like?
Does it look like you clocking into a job, immersed in the technical work of your business? Does it look like you putting out constant fires, struggling to check a single task off your to-do list without adding five more? Or does it look like you running a team, delegating tasks and keeping the wheels turning? A well-oiled machine that seems to run without you pushing a single button? Or does it look like something else entirely?
Whatever it looks like, this picture of your business defines how you’re doing business. Let me explain what I mean.
When I started as an EMyth Coach in 1996, I had a client (let’s call her Kathy) whose biggest frustration was not being able to trust her people to take care of the business in her absence. She confessed that it had been ten years since she’d gone away for longer than a weekend. Just one week prior, she’d stepped out for two hours to take her cat to the vet and literally closed down her business during that time because she was so sure it would fall apart in the two hours she was gone. Two hours!
“I want you to set a goal for our work together,” I told her. “In one year, I want you to take a week-long vacation.”
Kathy laughed at me.
So I asked her, “Why not?”
Okay—let’s say you’ve taken all the necessary steps to build a self-sustaining business.
You’ve made a clear decision to do it, and you’ve let your desire build.
You’ve let go of unproductive beliefs and are thinking like an Entrepreneur. You’ve come to see your business as a process designed to produce a desired result without you.
You’ve envisioned a business that doesn’t depend on your personal production, and you’ve written your vision down. You’ve imagined a culture where your employees are committed to your picture of the future and share your view of what really matters on the way there.
You’ve freed up your time to work on your business, not just in it. You’ve built systems in every area of your business that stand for what you believe in, and you’ve continuously improved them until they generate consistent, predictable results. You’ve set standards that everyone on your team lives by.
In other words, you’ve created a world of your own that can operate without you.
It’s an incredible accomplishment...but are you done?
Let’s be honest: Building a business that doesn’t depend on you isn’t easy. It’s going to take lots of time, attention, and know-how. You’re going to be drawn into fighting fires you wish weren’t happening; you’re going to worry about having the right resources to create the right results; you’re going to have to make things happen that you don’t really know how to do. At times, you’re going to feel let down by the very people you depend on to free you.
If you’re fortunate enough to have taken your company on a journey through all of its highs and lows for 5, 10, even 20 years or more, chances are you’ve had those moments when you wished your business weren’t so damn dependent on you. No matter what you’ve achieved, most business owners know in their heart that if they walked away—whether for six months or two weeks—they probably wouldn’t have a business when they got back.