Areas of Focus

It sounds strange to say areas we think about, we think about family, we think about business, what else is there?  Well, let’s be a little more specific.

Basically, when we’re talking about these many subjects, we try to think of them in the form of a grid, if you will.  Picture in your mind, across the top, from left to right, picture “Personal”, in the left column, next, center column, “Financial”, final, third column on the right, “Structural”, or “Business”.  Now, down the left hand side, or the columns that are going downward, we’re going to go ahead and have “Entering Business”, “Continuing Business”, and “Passing on the Business”.  And again, you apply those three timelines to those earlier mentioned three topics, and you get those nine areas we tend to be working on.

Okay, so I am just starting out with maybe creating my own business.  Okay, sounds like we are in the top column, of “Entering”, right?  I want to know what that means, for me and my family.   Wait, that’s the personal side. That’s where we start to ask:

  • “Is this something that feels good?”
  • “Is it a good emotional connection for me and for my family?”
  • “And what’s it likely to do to my family relationships and to my life, so to speak.”

So that’s the personal side.  Lots of topics on that area. The second piece is the financial piece. And again, based on the fact that we’re talking about the startup of a new business, you’re probably really focused on this:

  • “Will I make money?”
  • “Will I survive?”
  • “Will I become rich or will I go bankrupt?”
  • “How will I get the money to start this thing and all that stuff?”

You’ll hear me talk a lot about cash flow and a lot about a business plan and all those good numbers in the financial component.

Then, finally, structural, or legal, or whatever you want to think of it as.  That’s all the stuff of “how to” and structure supporting.  Okay, I want a corporation, or I want to do this, or how do I get this done?  Step by step.  “Who do I talk to?” or “Is this something I should be working with my accountant, my banker or my attorney on?” And the answer in this particular case is yes, yes and yes, because you’ve got all those people involved in that initial phase in that first question of what does it mean to go into a new business.

Again, we can apply this same grid very comfortably to: “I’ve been in business for 26 years and it’s been going well, but I’m beginning to get a little bored”, or “I’m beginning to get a little excited about a new opportunity.” Again, personal, financial and structural.  We can look at it very comfortably and decide, “Should I expand the business or not” from each of those different points of view:

  • “How would I do it if I was going to do structural?”
  • “Should I take on a partner?”
  • “How do I do that?”
  • “What does that look like?”

And then of course, the final stage is passing on or transferring the business, leaving the business, whatever that may be:

  • “I’m considering leaving the business, what does that mean?”
  • “Will I still be me if I’m no longer the owner of my business?”
  • “Will my family still want to see me if they aren’t my employees and I’m not paying them a salary?”
  • ”Can I afford this?”
  • “What does retirement cost and how do I get to it?”
  • “That’s all well and good, but should I be looking at an ESOP or should I be looking at a sale to my key employees?”
  • “Or should I be looking at a sale to an outsider?”
  • “What do I need to do to pass it on to my son or daughter?”

So, that’s what we do here on our show, and that’s of course what I do in my business, and what I do for each of you, whether it be through a simple phone call that we can talk about on the radio, or a tweet, or an email.  Or, if we need to actually work together, and get knee-to-knee and talk about YOUR specifics and spend the time it REALLY takes to answer those same questions.  Whichever place on that grid you are, and whatever the question is, I’m going to help you look at it and hopefully help you make informed decisions about it, from all those points of view.  It’s so easy sometimes to get caught up in one component (usually it’s the financial, just so you know) where you say, “Oh! I think I can make a jillion dollars!” And that’s great, and we definitely want to focus on if that’s true and if that can be done and how that works. But we also want to look at what that looks like from a personal and a structural point of view.  How do I get it done?