Over the last several months my partner and I have been discussing and analyzing whether or not we should close down our business after seven years of operation.
We came to the conclusion that it was best to shut it down.
It was a great run, especially for two guys who didn’t really know what they were doing in the beginning, but we figured a lot of things out over seven years.
I will speak from my perspective only; because at the end of the day all I know is my perspective. My first business was and still is, real estate, but my second business was a service. This was a different beast altogether.
There are many reasons why I could say I agreed with shutting it down, but if I am honest with myself, it really comes down to one reason.
I could say that it is because we lost one of our biggest clients, which was one of our first clients as well. When I say we lost them, we didn’t technically lose their business to a competitor or anything. They had just made some changes and were doing more things in-house. They actually said that they would probably still do business with us but just wasn’t sure of timelines.
I could also say that it was getting harder and harder to execute on some of the functions of the services we provided. Which would be true, especially for certain clients.
Due to certain regulations and policies by the government, it actually helped our business in the beginning, but some of those early needs that forced companies to need our services waned over the last several years. Also, many of the organizations we worked with have changed many of the processes and procedures over time as well, which led to many of them not wanting or needing our services as much.
I could also say that my partner and I agreed with shutting it down, because we were both at different points in our life and career. And the business was really on autopilot, and allowed us to do other things.
What started out to be a full-time job became less than a part-time job for both of us.
Keep in mind; both of us left full-time careers at pivotal moments in our careers seven years ago. We both went from making very nice salaries (six-figures plus) to making zero dollars.
We both had mortgages, I had several. He had children at critical stages of life. Or should I say, expensive points in life.
At the time we made this decision to go all in. All we had were our personal bank accounts, some ideas, a few leads, some terrible processes, and a lot of HOPE.
We weren’t dumb at the time. We had planned and prepared. When we launched we thought we were ready. But we learned a lot about business, sales cycles, and the reality of operating a business. Especially a business that is more of a product than an actual business.
What I learned from the experience was this.
- Business is hard. Starting something from nothing is difficult.
- I learned more about what it takes to operate a business.
- I learned that most businesses are making it up as they go along.
- Companies outsource services more than you would ever realize.
- I learned about taxes. States, federal, business, and how it impacts your personal taxes.
- I learned pricing.
- Sales and execution
- Take risks.No matter how big or small. When I went to zero then, the stakes were smaller, since then I have done it twice again.
I could go on an on about what I learned, because I learned many things along the way, that I wouldn’t have ever learned if I wouldn’t have done it.
Now here we are seven years from when it all began. And we are shutting it down. As I mentioned earlier, it really comes down to one reason why I decided to shut it down.
The one reason is commitment. It is really that simple. Here is what I know about commitment.
Commitment has nothing to do with passion. Although if you have passion for something it helps you have more commitment towards it. But you don’t have to be passionate about something to be committed to it. That is my opinion.
But I lacked commitment towards it.
Wherever there is commitment. You will see three things.
You will see time and energy being expended. And you will see money being spent on it.
I didn’t have enough of any of the three of these being invested into the business.
If I am honest with myself, we probably should have closed it many years ago, but we would renew a contract or land another one. That would give us a shot in the arm, but it would wane after a few months or so.
It is not a sad time that we made this decision. It really is something to celebrate.
We both have other things we are doing, and although I didn’t put as much time as I should have into the business we are closing. It does allow me to focus on my current business.
It is also the reality of life, all good things to come to an end. We were profitable from day one. We never lost a dollar of our own money. We made money along the way, which was the most important thing.
But the thing you can’t put a price on is the education I got from running a business. That education is more important than anything.
Takes risks, keep going, and pursue whatever it is you want to pursue in life. You only have one. Don’t have any regrets.
This morning I was reading a book titled The CEO Next Door. I am only two chapters in to the book, but I already have a couple of pages of notes. This book includes research from over 17,000 assessments and over 2,600 real interviews of CEO candidates that were ultimately placed in to CEO positions. This book provides what they call the CEO Genome, the characteristics of successful CEO’s.
One of the key characteristics of successful CEO’s that they shared already in the book, that I think is more important today than ever before. Great CEO’s and great CEO candidates have the ability to make complex things seem simple. They communicate complex things in terms that people can understand and buy in to. They do this by making sure all stakeholders understand how something applies to them and then uses simple terms that are easily understood.
The ability to make things simple and communicate it in a way that is easily understood is really an art and is necessary for all areas of life. Everything seems more complex than ever before. So anyone who can communicate and make things seem simple is someone who can carve out a niche for themselves.
A few areas that I believe that too many people over complicate, that aren’t really that complicated. Losing weight and becoming more financially healthy. My mentor told me that there are about a half of dozen things that we can all do to have success in whatever it is that we seek to have success in.
Becoming healthier and losing weight: What are the things you can do that lead could lead you to success when applied.
- Exercise for 30 minutes a day
- Eat less
- Eat better foods
- drink more water
- Cut out the bad thing you know you need to cut out. (alcohol, sweets, etc.)
What if you want to become better financially? What would you need to do?
- Make more money
- Cut out unnecessary expenses
- Get rid of your debt.
- Dont buy things you can’t afford.
What if you want to be a better employee?
- Show up early
- Be willing to put in extra hours as needed.
- Be coachable
- Get a long with others.
- Learn how your position contributes to profitability and then do whatever that is repeatedly.
The blueprint is easy. It isn’t complicated. Quit over complicating things in your life and boil it down to the simplest of terms and the simplest of activities. Because the more simple the better. I understand the hard part is the execution of each of these things. But too many people get ahead of themselves and start over thinking the execution way before they even know what it is they need to do.
Make a calendar. Put on the calendar the 15 times this month you will exercise for 30 minutes a day. Secondly, figure out how you can cut out some of the bad foods you are eating and what you could replace them with.
If it is better financial health you want. The first question I ask is always, “How can you make more money?” That is easy. You can figure that out. The second question is “Are there things I should cut out? What are they?
And if you want to be a better employee. Ask yourself or others in your organization: “Where could I be better team-mate?” “Where else could I contribute to help our company or department be more successful?”
I know some of this seems like common sense. And guess what? It is. Common sense is common knowledge, but unfortunately it is not common practice. Where do you need to implement more practice and less talk?
Remember you are the CEO of your life. You have to take control of it. By making things simple for yourself, it will give you the motivation and path to make it happen.
To your success and your future.