In my last post titled 4 Owner Objectives to Achieve the Self-Sustainability Stage of Business Growth we explored self-sustainability stage.  I talked about the 4 areas that an entrepreneur/owner needed to focus in the following 4 areas for the business to achieve the self-sustainability stage:

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  • Owner Goals
  • Operational Skills
  • Managerial Abilities
  • Strategic Thinking


Of these 4 the Owner’s Goals is the most critical as it provides the constraints on which the business plan is built.  The choice here is whether the owner wants to grow the business or just develop the business to sustain its current level of profitability.  You can see this decision has a major impact on the steps that follow.  It is frequently indecision causes stagnation for many businesses at this point in the growth life-cycle.

4 Management Objectives Impact the Self-Sustainability Stage:

Management Factors:

Financial Assets
  • Cash flow mgmt & profitability key concerns to finance growth or retirement.
  • To grow use retained earnings & cash flow, leverage to finance
Personnel Resources
  • Hire supervisory staff and give them decision making training and authority
  • Hire new employees
  • Create scalable systems for coming growth or to disengage from business
  • Better accounting and management systems
Business Assets
  • Growth requires the owner’s deep involvement (verses disengagement)
  • Strong operational & strategic planning
  • Stability: using business assets to create on-going passive cash flow.

Theses are the same 4 factors from the previous stages.  Notice everything is focused on the business functioning on its own.  It is all about removing the owner/entrepreneur from the operation and day-to-day business so that the company continues to produce cash flow and profit at its current levels and beyond.

If the word REMOVE makes you feel uneasy, don’t fret.  This is the biggest obstacle I face when consulting with small business owners.  Because they have allowed themselves to be defined by their business “letting go” is the hardest thing they’ve probably faced besides starting their business.  Unfortunately, at this stage they’ve become so comfortable with life and their business that they are unwilling to let themselves get uncomfortable so the business can enter the self-sustainability stage of the growth cycle.  So the business stagnates and the owner finds him/herself caught in “Nowhere Land.” They become dissatisfied with their life and business and are not sure why.

I have seen owners fight this change to the point of putting their business into bankruptcy or even working it to die a slow painful death. In the process they hurt their family and the families of the people they employed.  Are you this stubborn that you would do this?

If you find yourself caught in this quagmire, then you have some real soul searching to do!  Contact me at  I will be happy to share how I have helped entrepreneurs navigate this rocky shoreline and may be able to assist you too.

Another way to get through this dilemma is to share with others that have already made this transition themselves.  If you have been able to successfully make this transition yourself tell your story here.  It is helpful when someone is struggling to see that others have shared this struggle too and have successfully come out the other side!  We’re waiting to hear from you…



  1. Avatar
    June 14, 2012

    Good post that made me think. To add to the discussion may I share the 3 sipmle questions that I have found help focus the mind and help get a perspective on the viability of a new product:who wants or needs itcan they pay for itcan we deliver it competitivelyHope this helps

  2. Avatar
    November 10, 2012

    Great job on the website, laeids!I read that WSJ article too. I came away with this: Fear of Success and Fear of Failure. SO many of us have a fear of both. In another article I read in Forbes about maintaining wealth, the number one rule is staying highly centered, staying very focused. You certainly can apply that to your craft (not just building wealth, although yes, I want to build wealth from my craft!) Don’t let yourself get distracted. Find your strength and build on it without spreading yourself to do all things (jack of all trades). That’s where you run into problems because you dilute your strengths. Concentrate on what you do best and delegate to others. AND they say, be prepared to sacrifice and maybe some things in your life will be neglected in order to reach your goals. I read into that family .Unfortunately with women, we have that first full time job, raising the family, making sure everyone in the household is fed, dressed, schooled and are productive little humans in society. Women who work at jobs too and have to come home to the front . Jeez! No wonder we’re held back! We want to carve out an tiny spot for our business too! And be Super Mom/Wife. I have drawn plenty of lines in the sand to focus on my craft and the number one person to ask for help, is your family. You can’t do everything, you’ll go mad! Get them to help you, delegate them to take care of the small stuff and leave them to it. Leave them lists and make them accountable. You’ll see they can do it. From hubby to even the little ones can set a table, to take magazines to the recyclables, empty the dishwasher and strip their beds, well, you get the point. Sometimes they don’t even realize you’re drowning, you have to speak up and let them know. You help them, let them help you. And don’t forget to say please.I’m totally down with a craft/design team. So many designers worry about their secrets getting out. If you feel that way, sign a disclosure statement. When you let others into your team you’ll get a fresh prospective, show an idea for a pair of new eyes, road test your ideas with someone that is like minded as you. They may know a technique you’re not aware of. Let go and you will find that more creativity flows like a rushing river. You’re the boss and you control it. This will get you out of the creativity rut. Who gabs more than women? Take advantage of their viewpoints, wisdom and their experiences. We’re natural cheerleaders. We need each other! My business thrives on that.Need more help? Go to your local high school and hire some summer help part time, right now. Teach someone, guide them, sweep the shop floor, show them the ropes. Just start once a week. Two or three hours a day. You might open a door to a new budding artist who has an unforeseen talent and how satisfying is that to watch develop? You’ll see that Hey! Maybe I can hire/handle more help and then find someone more regular when they go back to school if they don’t stay with you. Start small and see how it goes.

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