Time, money and significance: These are the three desires that every entrepreneur strives for in a business. Unfortunately, most find themselves caught in the never-ending pursuit of money, squelching the essence of true business ownership and personal freedom. As a result, the enterprise never delivers time back for the things we enjoy doing or the opportunity to make a significant impact on the world around us. This leads to the limited existence of hard work, lifestyle leftovers and even the potential demise of a business.
In the second edition of his bestselling book Making Money is Killing Your Business: How To Build a Business You Love and Have a Life, Too, thought leader and author Chuck Blakeman debunks the notion that the primary reason for starting a business is to make money. Rather, he champions the notion that the purpose of an entrepreneur is to build a business that happens to make money. A true business, he says, occurs when the revenues of an enterprise align with our freedom to create fun, meaning and significance in the world.
Selected as the No.1 Business Book of the Year by the National Federation of Independent Business, this second edition skillfully builds upon the depth and practical insights contained in the original. Blakeman’s principles are informed by the first-hand stumbles and mistakes he’s made as a business owner. He delivers intentional, laser-focused ideas in a manner that is easy to digest and put to use.
His book represents a journey into the mysterious and often frustrating world of building a business. The core foundation of the book is the seven stages of business ownership,, beginning with the concept and ending at succession planning. Blakeman dives deep into critical topics like freedom mapping, 2-page strategic plans, lifetime goals and an array of practical topics that will transform any business willing to ditch complexity for effectiveness.
Blakeman is quick to acknowledge the heavy lifting necessary to both launch and sustain a business. Like the vast majority of entrepreneurial neophytes, my tendency — particularly in the early stages of my business — was to scurry around town like a whirling dervish, networking in the hopes of randomly colliding with new clients. Blakeman is brutal in his critique of this form of business development. He points out that building relationships with raving fans who know, like and trust us is a far better return on investment. He calls these folks “lumberjacks” and suggests connecting with three to five who will be your fervent evangelists. They send business to you,and you reciprocate with business to them. In the end, everyone wins through a steady stream of great connections. Here’s how he puts it:
“Envision a forest of trees (which represents your target market) and a tribe of people supporting you in cutting down those trees (your potential sales) and delivering them to your front doorstep. How awesome is that?”
My favorite of Blakeman’s concepts, and one that I am in the process of employing, is cultivating a business that can prosper without my direct involvement and physical presence. He calls on readers to schedule a business maturity date — a milestone date in the next three to five years where the business owner extracts themselves as general manager. My BMD is scheduled for June 22, 2016 at 9 a.m. At that time, I will hand the keys over to a trusted team that will carry the torch during my one-month sojourn to Spain, Portugal and Iceland. (Thanks, Chuck.)
One word of caution before reading this book. Uncertain feelings about the business you’re in or the prospect of launching one can serve as a major roadblock to the advice Blakeman delivers. Having clarity and direction are vital to aligning money with that important need we all have for time and significance. Otherwise we run the risk of killing our business and potentially ourselves in the process.