Regaining Your Passion

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How To Get Back To What You Love Doing Most In This Business

Our industry began as a small group of eager and passionate companies, and over 20 years we have grown into a large and mature business sector complete with all the requirements and responsibilities of “adulthood.” The fact is, however, that the actual day-to-day mechanics of operating a business are not what gets most of us out of bed in the morning, yet demand our attention nonetheless.

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It may be that you love sales and interacting with clients.

With all the daily “noise” related to running your business, when was the last time you stopped to consider why you got into this industry in the first place? For most, I would venture that it wasn’t due to your love of running a business.

WHAT MAKES YOU TICK?
If you own and operate or even manage a smaller ESC business, it’s time to take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself this:

a) Are you really doing what you want to be doing?
b) Are you actually any good at it?

If the answer to either of these is “No,” then I believe you owe it to yourself and your employees to consider making some serious changes. To be clear, I am not commenting on the quality of the projects that you deliver, and I am certainly not saying that any company below a certain size should just fold and move on. I am saying that, as this industry matures, more consolidation will happen, larger well-run companies will emerge, and despite our best efforts, many of us will not have the skill set to compete. So, stop and consider what it is you really love doing in this industry and figure out a way to do that and only that.

It may be that you love sales and interacting with clients. You might love the creativity of system design, engineering, or programming. Or you may love being on site and in the field mentoring a great group of younger technicians and passing on years of experience. Regardless of the specific passion that you have, it is almost impossible to be immersed in that every day and still find the time and focus to manage and grow the business properly

THERE IS A WAY
So what do you do if you find yourself in a position where you want to get back to doing what you love, but don’t see a way out? Here are a few options that you might want to consider:

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Richard Millson (richard. millson@millson.net) is president of Vancouver-based Millson Multimedia.

a) Own your business, but stop trying to run it. Hire people to do the things you know need doing but don’t enjoy doing yourself. You can outsource HR and bookkeeping easily enough, and you could also add an experienced business manager or COO to take charge of the day-to-day operations.

b) Merge/Sell/Buy. Regardless of your geographic area, there are probably one or more competitors that you respect, even if you are reluctant to admit it. It may make sense to join with them in some way to become larger, capture more market share, and generate enough overall revenue to bring on experienced and talented business operations professionals.

c) Close it down. This is obviously a more severe option, but finding a way to wind down your existing business and begin working for a competitor that you respect is another way to get back to doing what you love. A change like this in your marketplace removes a competitor for the firm that you are joining, and you are all the more desirable to them as you can bring your existing clients, prospects, and best employees with you.

Our industry was in its infancy 20 years ago, but it has and will continue to mature into a more complicated place to compete. The huge number of tiny companies will evolve into a smaller number of much larger companies. This is happening now and happens in every industry over time.

Not all of us have or will develop the skills required to grow our businesses as quickly as required to compete effectively in this new model. There is no shame in this and I believe we should all view this as a positive opportunity to stop and reassess where we are and what we are doing. So if this makes sense for you, I say now is the time to summon the honesty and courage and find a way back to doing what you love. Now is the time to take control and direct your future rather than have it decided for you..

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