Many business owners reach a point where they feel comfortable with how things are going. They’re making good money, are no longer working as hard as they used to, and are having a positive social/environmental impact. They’ve been at it a while, and are reluctant to make any changes that will upset the apple cart. So they settle in and relax, but worry whether they should be putting in more effort to build the business.
There is no one solution that fits all situations. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to determine whether it’s okay to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Is your business overly reliant on you? Here are some indicators: (a) The business relies on you personally as the rainmaker (b) You can’t get away for a long vacation without checking in (c) You do not have a succession plan.
Is your business overly reliant on one or two key customers or vendors?
Is your business ready for sale? Have you put in place the pieces that will make it as valuable as you want it to be if/when you’re ready to sell?
Are key employees stimulated, happy, and planning to stay?
Have you achieved your business vision, or have you “settled” because it was easier? Is this okay with you?
Are you reacting to industry changes that will impact your business either positively or negatively?
Are you getting bored? Do you have the fire in the belly to do more?
If you have a social or environmental mission: (a) Has your organization grown to the size where it has the desired impact? (b) Are you personally content with the impact of the business? (c) Could a partner or new owner greatly expand the impact of the business? Would that make you happier?
The answers to these questions will help to clarify whether your business is ready and able to proceed productively with the business owner playing a reduced role. However, the situation is different for each owner and their business -- there is no one right answer for all.