Guident Newsletter – June 2017 – Issue 14

Does your company have a seat at the table?

For many years I have seen owners of small to mid-size businesses manage their companies like they were one of their children or dependents.  Then when things go awry they call people like me for help.  My advice to them is to “corporatize” their companies.

I often see business owners who think of themselves and their businesses as one entity.  These owners act as if the business could not function without them; they feel as if they are the lifeline to the organization.  This is almost always not the case.  Any company which is to be sustainable must not be dependent on any one individual, no matter how important that position is within the organization.

To demonstrate this I often pull a chair up to the table where we are working and ask the owner to imagine that the business is occupying that chair.  As you can imagine they look at me as if I’ve lost it!  I ask them if they can personally fund the next payroll.  They usually say, “well no”.  I tell them that the company can and does.  I ask them if they can make rent, make the Workman’s Compensation payment, make the next interest payment, and so forth.  The company can and will do all these things.  As the business owner, you must realize that the company has more power than any one individual in the organization.  Customers are customers of the company, not of any one salesperson or business owner.  Owners must treat their companies with respect and not manage them as if they were a child or dependent.

In other words, business owners must “corporatize” the way they see the business.   You have to start thinking and acting differently towards your company if you want the company to be sustainable.   Let the organization grow up and become its own entity, separate from your own persona.  As the business owner you will set the culture of the organization, this is true; but also know as the owner you must understand your limitations and the power of the organization.  If you don’t set a place at the table for your company, you will be the glass ceiling.   Next meeting, pull up a chair and invite the company into the conversation, begin the transition of power from the owner to the organization and watch your people and the company grow.