What Is a Self-Sustaining Business?

I talk about a creating self-sustaining business all the time.  In fact, it’s what we do a DE, Inc.!

Assist small business owners in growing a self-sustaining business.

But, what does a self-sustaining business really look like?  And, how do you know that you’ve created one?

The test to determine if you have a self-sustaining business is a pretty easy one.

Can you step away from your business right now and it will continue to generate a level of revenue and profitability that does not your impact lifestyle and that of your employees?

Man with Work on BackIf the answer is YES, then you have created a self-sustaining business.  If the answer is NO, then you are not there yet.  You are stuck in what I can “no man’s land.”  You’re profitable, but your business needs you in order to create that profit!

A Self-Sustaining Business and the Business Growth Cycle

I sort of set the stage here.  If you’ve read my past posts on being stuck in “no man’s land” you already know that we’re talking about the Survival Stage of growth cycle.

Ok, so you know where you are, but what does where you want to be look like?  That would be the Success Stage of the growth cycle.

So why aren’t more business in the success stage?  The main problem is the things that most people usually use to define business success, good revenue, a solid customer-base, a steady stream of business, and, most of all, good profit, are characteristics of the survival stage.

If you had all those things, wouldn’t you think that you were successful?  Of course you would.  I would say you were successful.

However, the success isn’t business success.  It’s personal success!!!

Business success comes with creating a self-sustaining business!  So, what does a success stage business look like?

Systems of a self-sustaining businessThe main thing is its revenue, solid customer-base, steady stream of business and profits isn’t dependent on a person or set of key people.  All these things are created by business systems which can have people added and lost with little to no impact to the business.

This is a big jump for a lot of business owners!  But, it is critical if you ever want to have business success and a self-sustaining business.

I find the hardest thing for most small business owners is finding that successor. Handing over the reins to someone else is hard for something that you’ve spent a large part of your time for years building.  But, a necessity if you ever want to sell or step away from your business.

Creating a self-sustaining business is what gives a business value.  Ask any business broker or trusted advisor involve in the transaction of a sale and they’ll tell you it is the #1 thing true investors look for in a business!

So, how do you do it?  Well, you have to come back next week to find out.  Next week my topic will be 3 Steps to Creating a Self-Sustaining Business.

In the meantime, if you’re wondering if you’re stuck or can’t wait email me. I’d be happy to discuss your situation with you.


About Dino Eliadis

Dino Eliadis has over 25 years experience in creating and leading high performance teams and organizations. His talents spans many different industries where he focuses on assisting small business owners to make measurable improvements in overall business performance thus increasing their “book value” by Tuning the Revenue Engine. The result: increased productivity and improved revenue growth, leading to maximized profits.


  1. Looking forward to your other comments on this subject. Maybe you can also discuss how does one obtain someone who is a good candidate for taking over a business.

    • Fred,

      A question that I am often asked. Unfortunately it is a very complex question. However, I think most people begin to understand the dynamics of finding those individuals when they begin understanding the stages of growth that a business goes through.

      If you don’t think you have that person yet then you are most likely in the “Survival Stage.” Check out more of the articles on the blog under that category and it may give you a better understanding of what’s ahead. http://yoursmallbusinessgrowth.com/category/small-business-growth/survival/

      Or, if you’d like to talk about it feel free to drop me a line.

      – Dino Eliadis


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