I made a mistake. When I started the business, I thought I had to work like a dog for the first 5 years, and then the business would be set up & run itself.
I deployed this boost of energy HARD and EARLY.
I didn’t realise that when that time came, and the business was mature, I would be a leader of service, not just a businessman of profit. I changed my approach from the quarterly pursuit of profits to the pursuit of purpose and impact.
Here are the facts that most founders and entrepreneurs will not tell you:
There is no rest in the race
If you are waiting for the business to be “up and running” so that you can finally take your foot off the gas and get some rest, that is like holding your breath and waiting for the sun to rise.
The sun rises regardless.
Every time I have figured it out, something changes. The market changes. My customers change. Some a**hole does something that throws me off my playbook.
So, the foot is constantly on the gas. And that is good news. It means that success belongs to those most enduring, not the most talented.
Endurance wins the race. Not acceleration.
There is no balance. Only blinkers.
Stop chasing balance. Most founders and entrepreneurs need to correct this. Like a horse with blinkers during the race and then with blinkers on during training, the blinkers are the horse to hone in on that task.
When you are with family, ITS FAMILY.
When you are at work, ITS WORK.
Blinkers over Balance.
This is the most controversial point of view. Winners are not “nice”. They are difficult, aggressive, driven, and unreasonable.
All the quality that the contemporary woke would tell is toxic.
NEWSFLASH: You are in business. You are competing. You are fighting a battle in the war for market share.
Unreasonable leaders push their people. But more, they push themselves.
I believe in my team. That is why I hired them. And more, that’s why I invest in them, train them and PUSH them to be better.
To be a growth founder, you must be intentional about firing yourself.
And the test for this is simple: how long can your business run without your direct personal involvement?
To be clear, it’s not about “can I take a 3-month holiday?”
It is about, “can I elevate my role in the business so that I can work on more strategic tasks at the higher ranges where the leverage for my time, work and decisions is higher?”
In other words, ensure that I am working on training, teaching, documenting, standardising, passing-on-to-the-next hire my current roles and responsibilities.
And be patient with yourself. The first hire is likely to be incorrect. Hiring is like a muscle. The more you train that muscle, the better you get at it.
So, train, delegate, promote and elevate.
And the most important gift is holding the team accountable.
My current pursuit is simple, get the current business to without me so I can build the next business.
It’s “chasing the next frontiers” thinking.
So, I am constantly working to fire myself. Not so I can go on leave – although I often do. But so I can find the next frontier and chase it.
The most FULFILLING part of building a scaling business: watching the place you have been privileged to build become a home where some of the smartest and most driven people you know GROW and GIVE BACK.
Random musings of a founder.