Step 7 - "Sustainability" Overview Orientation
"The business just about runs by itself!"
Your business is beginning to be sustainable beyond you. So, the question is, "How do I keep growth under control?" and "Who can manage and help it to grow further?"
And that other question keeps nagging you, "Should I finally take some real income or push even more money back into the company?"
You move on to Step 8 when you have had over 100 employees for two years (or over $10M in revenue for three years). In either situation you are ready to consider how to Exit At the Top.
Four Paths Within Step 7
1. Your Basics - Your Inner Being
In some of our stories you meet people who are really flying high; within a few years, many have broken through $3 million in revenue, some through $10 million, and a few through $20 million. They are examining their limits to growth, international markets, and e-commerce.
Some of our case studies are of people who are in their 70s and 80s (and even one who was 96 when we taped the story) and still worked every day. He had a goal to give $1M a year away and through most of his years, he did it.
They would not have it any other way.
Everybody also continues to ask themselves basic questions about who they are and what they "want to do when they grow up." Some are looking forward to a little time off, to a break in the schedule. Maybe you are, too! Certainly you deserve it.
You also deserve to begin harvesting some of the fruits of your labor. That often means sharing equity. Sometimes it means preparing the business for acquisition and selling part of it back to key people within the business, to business partners, to board members, to suppliers, and sometimes even to customers!
2. Your inner community - your history.
Your business history will often reveal your inner community. Who have you trusted? With whom do you spend your time? It also reveals something about your products and services that are keys to understanding this businesses long-term prospects, beyond your lifetime and possibly beyond many lifetimes. A sustainable business constantly evaluates the leveragability of its products and services.
This is a good time to review all those shows that are within your type of business or a similar business type. Here you will learn how all of these people continue to be filled with energy even after many years of diligent work to grow their business.
3. Structuring your time.
We believe there are products and services that we all need, and we are out to find the best and to recommend them here to help each of us become sustainable businesses.
How you work the equity in your business becomes a critical.
Look at the section about Money. Learn what a Small Corporate Offering Registration is. Learn about your your options.
"Like a gazelle!" Those growing fast (over 30% per year) have special problems: Controls, people, interruptions, money, long-range plans. Because you have a track record, everybody wants a piece of the action. Every bank wants to loan you money. You have choices.
And, the biggest choice you have is how you ride this business into your sunset, and how you prepare it for the next generation. It is time to look at your equity/liquidity model and exit strategy:
ESOP DPO IPO SCOR
To think about money immediately, click on the $$$$ in the box above.
It has been said that most businesses begin to peak when the founder-owner is between the age of 50 and 60. Then the business, sometimes stuck in its ways with no new leadership in position for the future, begins to lose market share and tumbles slowly down, assets, value and all. Fewer than 30% of all businesses make it beyond the transition from the founder-owner to the next generation.
That terrible statistic has to change.
4. Projecting the day when "the Chairman of the Board" means something.
We all use titles so loosely, yet most people within the business community know when a business is doing well. You, founder/owner, are more gracious and giving, and the business and your people are out in the community more.
Though we will be adding and revising this section, consider tracking non-financial ratios.