The 80/20 of Business Owners

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Not many entrepreneurs make it to become owners of a business that can support them and their lifestyles. Only a small percentage of entrepreneurs that try and persist will succeed. That’s the 80/20 rule at play among start ups (though it’s probably be closer to like 95/5 in reality).

Of the ones that do make it, I’m starting to notice another 80/20 pattern at play within business owners themselves too. After the business is doing 7 figures for instance, the thing that seems to stop most entrepreneurs from going to the next level is the lack of personal development.

A lot of businesses will reach a stage where what’s been working so well will no longer work in increasing revenues rapidly (or worse yet, it will stop working altogether because there has been a fundamental shift in the market e.g. Blockbusters).

The reasons why will vary some but the majority of reasons has to do with the person running the business.

They can include:

  • Fear of trying new sales channels
  • Inability to delegate which restricts growth of the company to how much the CEO can do
  • Fear of investing in future growth
  • Not understanding industry and industry trends
  • Lack of good process
  • Lack of good people
  • Lack of good management

It seems then that in order for the business to continue its growth, its owner must also grow.

The owner can do this by reading widely, meeting with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, and be essentially a learning machine.

Obviously if the owner is stuck doing tasks all day long that really someone else should be doing, that’s the first problem that needs to be solved because without investing the time necessary to self develop and think through things, the owner is really not going to be able to progress to the next level. Typically the entrepreneur is not delegating because they think only they can do what they’re doing, there isn’t enough money coming in to employ someone else or they’re unwilling to invest the time, money and effort to finding someone else.

But doing this is key because we develop our intuition based on our history of experiences, reading, interacting with people. Developing this intuition helps the entrepreneur become focused on figuring out what the key decisions are that have to be made and make a judgement about what the right decision is.

As the business owner develops the business and takes it to the next level, the priority becomes setting the vision and strategy, finding the right people, developing the right culture, managing risk, etc.

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