Jan. 30, 2013
-- A huge problem many business owners have is not developing a clear enough idea of how achieving certain milestones will change everything for them in their company. An example of this is when my ex-husband and his business partner built a software training company. They started out in our trailer, shooting videos and editing them. This was a small production filled with a lot of excitement, dreams, and hopes of what this beginning company would be able to accomplish.
The first milestone this company actively worked toward was to be able to have their own office—trust me, our babies and I really looked forward to them achieving that milestone. As they worked for it, they talked about how cool it would be to not have to work in the middle of diaper changing, and to have a professional place to spark their talent, etc. The partners became very clear on what achieving that milestone would look like, feel like, and how it would overall impact their lives and their family’s lives.
As the company grew, the milestones changed and so did their ability to predict how achieving those milestones would impact them. One of the biggest milestones that they worked aggressively for was to get the company up to fifty employees. Within a few years they did achieve that major milestone, but that is when things started to unravel.
My ex became more and more discontent with work. He hadn’t realized that when they made the choice to reach fifty employees, he would be completely changing his work life and his role in it. The change seemed to sneak up on him. He went from loving work to hating it because instead of being independent, showing up to work whenever he wanted, and working crazy hours, being in charge of how and when he worked, suddenly there was a dress code—which he hated, and, to add to it, lots of people who turned to him for direction and guidance. He had become a manager instead of entrepreneur. His ability to be free and to work on his own schedule was interfered with by the fact other people needed and expected things from him. His dislike for reaching this milestone became so uncomfortable for him that he quickly looked for a way out of what he had worked so hard to create.
Many business owners make the same mistake my ex-husband made—setting a milestone and working really hard to achieve it before taking the time to figure out what that milestone will actually mean, not only to their business but also to them personally, and how it will impact what they will do every day.
So whether you are deciding to move from a mom and pop shop to a large business, or going from a local company to online, or maybe doing something in-between, it is critical that you finish your due diligence first and really picture, in fine detail, what achieving that milestone will do for you and your role in the company. Make sure that it is a milestone and a change that you really would want. And remember, experience and planning is part of your milestone journey.