Business and Operations
Is your company stuck in the muck?
By George Hedley
By George Hedley
Is your business growing and giving you the results you wanted when you first started your entrepreneurial journey? Or are you stuck in the muck and can’t seem to get moving? As small companies begin to grow, they get bogged down, hit challenges, and find roadblocks that hold them back. These include lack of time, energy, money, people, and customers. Many business owners stay paralyzed forever and can’t let go or grow. They feel they have to make every decision and hold tight to the controls.
Is your business growing and giving you the results you wanted when you
first started your entrepreneurial journey? Or are you stuck in the
muck and can’t seem to get moving? As small companies begin to grow,
they get bogged down, hit challenges, and find roadblocks that hold
them back. These include lack of time, energy, money, people, and
customers. Many business owners stay paralyzed forever and can’t let go
or grow. They feel they have to make every decision and hold tight to
The typical entrepreneurial progression
|1 ||Worker – Employee – Manager|
|2||Small Business Owner – Hands-on Controller & Supervisor|
|3 ||Entrepreneur – Business Builder & Growing|
|4 ||Systemized & Organized Company|
|5 ||Company Owner – Opportunity Seeker|
Before small business owners start their companies, they’re usually
competent employees or managers doing a great job for their boss, as
shown on level one. They’re responsible and accountable, hard workers,
and dream about the day they can start their own company. Then it
finally happens! They get bitten by the “E” bug (“E” is for
Entrepreneur) and make a decision to go into business for themselves.
The newly minted entrepreneurs suddenly announce they have quit their
jobs to start their own companies. After the initial shock, many ask
where this new entrepreneur will find the money to get started, attract
customers, hire good employees, and pay the bills. Without fear, the
new entrepreneur says: “Don’t worry. I’ll figure it out!”
After the entrepreneur gets infected, he starts his company and steps
up to level two as a small business owner. Here he is in charge of
every decision and fully in control of every moving part of the
company. He supervises every little item, transaction, customer,
proposal, invoice, vendor, and employee. He is the business and without
him, there is no business.
Bill started his successful manufacturing business seven years ago. It
grew quickly to $1 million in sales with 15 employees. Then it stopped
growing and his profits began to shrink. He was stuck at level two.
When his company was smaller, it was easier for him to act as the
ringleader, process the work flow, and meet with customers to keep them
happy. But now he had to work harder and harder to keep his company
Bill was frustrated and needed help. While he had managers and key
employees, he didn’t delegate much responsibility. He was still
approving every estimate, purchase, shipment, order, and personnel
move. When he started his company, he had time to find new customers,
manage the work, and make sure everything went well. But now that
wasn’t happening, and customers were demanding better prices and faster
service. Bill was stuck, and his old ways of running the business
Most small business owners get stuck forever.
Most entrepreneurs remain sole practitioners and stay at level two
forever. They grow to two men and a truck or to eight employees at one
location. And others grow to three managers and twenty employees. But
when the company gets to a level where the business owner can’t control
everything anymore, it gets stuck and stops growing. They know they
need to do something different, let go, hire better people, delegate,
install systems, find better customers, improve services, or find more
hours in the day. But they don’t know what to do next, get frustrated,
and exclaim: “HELP! I can’t get my business to work!”
When you get stuck, you hate going to work because you have more
demands and pressures than you can handle. So what should you do to get
unstuck and grow your business?
1. Refocus on what you want! Stop and remember your original dream of
owning a growing and prosperous company that achieves your vision and
goals, is organized, profitable, has lots of great customers, is run by
your empowered management team, and gives you freedom and time to enjoy
2. Realize you are a business builder! You will never reach your goals
if you don’t grow. Are you too busy working to make any money? To grow,
you’ve got to let go, delegate, and do what you do best. Growth starts
with customers who want what you sell. And you are the best salesperson
in your company. You must make time to go out and build relationships
with loyal customers plus find new ones.
3. Replace yourself with systems! In order to delegate to your team,
you need systems and procedures in place that don’t rely on you
dictating and directing every move and decision on every transaction.
Put your standards on paper and train your people to follow them. This
is how you get beyond YOU as the business. Systems allow you to get out
of doing and supervising work, and create time to make building your
business the top priority.
4. Hire the best! Now that you know where you are going and have
systems in place, you can start to build a strong management team
prepared to take your company to the next level. Good people without
written systems can’t do a great job without your constant input.
5. Enjoy the ride! With your company organized and growing, you can now
focus on creating more opportunities for your business to prosper and
As Bill’s company grew, he learned to delegate more responsibility to
his management team. As they stopped relying on Bill to make decisions
for them, they started to see the company’s potential, and got excited
about their new roles and responsibilities. In order to grow, they next
needed to standardize their operational systems. Now with managers in
charge, they would have to get everyone trained to do things the same
way through specific systems and procedures. As his managers began to
install systems, Bill gained more free time to meet with existing and
potential customers and look for better ways to serve them. He also began looking for
opportunities to expand by offering new services and products. Profits
began to rise, his equity and net worth grew, and free time became more
available. Bill had gotten out of the muck and his business was working!
To get unstuck, what will you do differently with your time to get your
business to deliver exactly what you want? Decide what you’ll do to
make this happen, get unstuck, and out of the muck.
George Hedley is the best-selling author of “Get Your Business to
Work!” As a professional speaker and business coach, he helps
entrepreneurs and business owners build profitable companies. E-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org to request your free copy of “$ure
$trategies To $urvive A $lowdown!” or sign up for his e-newsletter. To
hire George to speak, attend his “Profit-Builder Circle” academy or
find out how he can help your company grow, call 800-851-8553 or visit