I remember a client of mine saying: “I keep the keys on my belt, I open and I close. Then I know what happens in my business”; wise words.
Nobody looks after your business like you do. Nobody cares about your business and your assets like you do. To protect your business and your assets, you need to be there to look after them. The minute you are an absentee entrepreneur, you are at risk. Few small businesses have the control measures in place to eliminate most risks.
Why then do entrepreneurs spend time away from their businesses? The business is probably at a point where it is not as stimulating as it once was and the entrepreneur is looking for something else to do; often they have become bored. Either they are looking for new challenges, or they are merely spending time on things they enjoy: fishing trips, overseas holidays, watching the kids play sport. You can do this and still be successful, as long as you do not neglect your business.
The point is, the less time you spend at your business, the less you know about what is happening there. Before you know it you’ve lost touch and your staff or others could easily take you for a ride. When you’re there, you know and see what is happening. If you are not there, you only think you know.
Besides the risk of losing your assets (such as cash and stock), another big threat is losing your clients. Who cares more about serving the customer than you? Often they deal with your business because of you. Now you are not there and they start to look around for alternatives. You spend time building a relationship with your clients and not being there destroying that. They may feel as if you do not care about them anymore.
In the end, you lose track of reality. You assume that what was still is. Circumstances change and you are not there to see and react to it. Situations occur that require your attention and you are not there to address it. Your business has slipped away while you weren’t looking.
So, keep those keys in your pocket.
Article written by Gerrie van Biljon – Executive Director Business Partners Limited.