As a small business owner, you serve as the cornerstone of your business, which means your employees, clients, and partners rely on your leadership and guidance. To see your business grow and reach new milestones, you must be one hundred percent committed.
For most business owners, your personal wealth is closely tied to the success of your business. Your business has become a part of your identity, often making it hard to distinguish between the company’s best interest and your own. Because of this, it’s incredibly important that your personal and business vision are in total alignment.
3 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
How can you tell if your business and personal visions are on the same page? Start by asking yourself these three questions.
#1: What Type of Work-Life Balance Do I Want?
One benefit of owning your own business is flexibility and control over your schedule. While most small businesses require a significant time commitment at the beginning, once established you may be asking yourself if your work-life balance is in alignment with your vision. Do you want to be able to have weekends and evenings off? Are you comfortable spending most of your time in a physical location, like an office or a storefront? Or do you want to be able to work remotely from anywhere?
If you find yourself spending more time away from home than you’d like, your visions may be out of alignment. Think about what you can do to adjust the way you run your business to better address your desire to spend more time with loved ones.
For example, if you run a firm that requires your physical presence in an office building, would your clientele be open to meeting elsewhere or speaking virtually? Can you move to an online storefront?
Could you benefit from bringing on a few employees to lighten your load? If you already have employees, maybe it’s time to put energy and focus on training current workers to take over some of your responsibilities, or consider growing your team.
In addition to reviewing your current day-to-day balance, consider what you’d ultimately like your role in the company to be. Think: what is the most valuable role you can play? Do you enjoy getting more hands-on in the day-to-day operations, or would you prefer to take a backseat? Whatever the answer may be, you need to consider your role carefully when establishing a long-term vision for the business.
#2: What’s My “Why”?
Only 35% of small businesses make it to 10 years. But with the odds against you, you’ve chosen to do something that takes a lot of courage, discipline, and trust. Not many people go through the hardships of becoming an entrepreneur, so there must be a reason why you chose to do it.
Whether it’s identifying a need in the marketplace or building a legacy for your family, you have a “why” behind what you do.
Now, consider the current trajectory of your business. Is it still aligning with your original “why,” or has it strayed from the path? As new challenges and opportunities arise, it’s easy to lose focus on your original vision. Take some time to reassess and determine if you still feel as though your business is well-aligned with your personal mission, or if a change of course is needed. Journaling can be a valuable tool when you feel the need to bring your “why” back into focus.
#3: When Do I Plan on Retiring?
Whether you’re still in start-up mode or deep into a growing enterprise, it’s never too early to consider your next phase in life. Succession planning is critical to protecting a business owner’s future well-being, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
Even if you aren’t considering retirement for another 5, 10, or even 15 years, that’s still a long-term vision that needs to be accounted for now. There are things you can be doing today to make your business more desirable to sell or pass down when you’re ready.
If your long-term vision for the business is to keep it in the family, start having conversations with your children and grandchildren early. Make sure they’re on board with your wishes and have the necessary training and tools needed to be successful when the time comes.
Or, do you think you’ll eventually sell to a third party? Depending on the type of business you own, maybe that means being acquired by a larger company. Or, it could involve finding a like-minded business owner to merge with. There are many ways to go about transitioning out of your company, so consider carefully which is most in line with your long-term vision — both professionally and personally.
WE CAN HELP ALIGN YOUR VISION
Our team at Northstar offers tailored financial guidance for small business owners and their families. If you’re looking to achieve a greater alignment between your personal and professional visions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help identify your long-term goals, build a strategy, and progress together toward a sound retirement.