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A message of hope from one business owner to another

Leadership

3 min read

Let’s be honest. It’s been another challenging year for the owners and operators of small businesses. You’ve had to find a new normal as Covid restrictions eased. The prices of goods and services you depend on to operate have shot up, often cutting into already thin margins. Your employees are looking to you for raises you may not be able to afford to offset the reduction in their buying power. Borrowing money to fuel your growth has become a lot more expensive. Inflation is stressful. There are difficult decisions to make—not the least of which is the decision to increase your own prices that can have unintended consequences that are impossible to predict.

And it’s not as if the usual challenges have gone away. You’re still asking: 

How do I increase my sales? 

How do I generate more leads?

How do I find more of the right people?

How do I keep the people I would be distraught to lose?

How do I deal with the employees who aren’t cutting it?

How do I make my workplace more joyful, collaborative, productive, healthy?

How do I get a handle on my finances?

How can I comfortably take more money out of the business?

How do I spend less time doing the things I don’t like to do and more time doing the things I love?

How do I get more control over the way things are done in my business and the results we’re producing?

How do I find more freedom?

As another year comes to a close, after decades of helping hundreds of thousands of small business owners build a business that really works, I can tell you there are solutions to every one of your challenges and answers to every question. 

You don’t have to be resigned to a belief that “this is just the way it is”. You can populate your business with employees who are grateful to work for your company and are doing their part in achieving your objectives. You can attract the customers who love your brand of doing business. You can grow your company at the rate you’d like to see. You can create a business on your terms that serves your life rather than consumes it.

You just have to be open to changing your thinking: about your business, your people, your customers and, most importantly, about yourself. It’s a tall order, I know, but owning and operating a business is no small undertaking. How you think about your business is how you end up doing business. 

You can’t keep doing things the way you’ve always done them and expect to produce a different result. 

If there’s one shift in thinking that will make all the difference, it’s letting go of your need to work in your business and making your highest priority working on it. I’m talking about earnestly devoting yourself to creating the way you do business, not just getting it done…and starting now, regardless of the condition or life-cycle stage of your company. This one shift, if it becomes the filter through which you make every big and small decision in your business, will lead you to the consistency, predictability, growth and freedom you’re looking for. 

Owning and operating a business, with all its risks and uncertainties, is a glorious way to express your passion, learn what you’re made of, build a life and serve your community. And, while there will always be hard moments, if you shift your perspective and build your business the way it was meant to work, it will mean the end of the constant struggle. 

My deepest wishes to you for health, peace, prosperity and love in the new year.

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Ilene Frahm

Written by Ilene Frahm

Ilene joined EMyth in 1982. During her 17 year marriage to Michael Gerber, she collaborated with him on The E-Myth Revisited as his editor and publishing agent, as well as on a number of his other books. Ilene spent more than a decade working on EMyth (not just IN it) to build a company that didn’t depend on her. In 1999, she retired as EMyth’s President, though she’s continued to serve as the company’s board chair. At the beginning of 2020, while the pandemic made it impossible for her and her husband, Gerrit, to spend time at their cottage on the north coast of Spain, Ilene returned as the company’s CEO to support the executive team and everyone in the company, at every level, in their leadership.

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