As I visit with business owners and business supporters around the region, one thing has become apparent to me—some businesses are treated like paychecks while others are treated like investments.
A Paycheck Business
A paycheck business produces monthly income for as long as it exists. It is truly a paycheck, nothing more, nothing less.
An Investment Business
An investment business pays dividends in the form of steadily increasing income and appreciates in value over time.
When a business is a paycheck it looks like this:
- It survives in spite of itself. Sometimes it even thrives, but it can’t sustain an upward trajectory. Sometimes it crashes and burns.
- If the business does survive, it seems a spark is missing. There is no enthusiasm for what it does or why it exists.
- Many times its leaders can’t distinguish a clear future path. And so it remains stuck in the same rut neither moving forward nor backward.
- Activity is the mantra of the paycheck business. Busyness is seen as hard work and while all this busyness allows the business to dodge bullets, it also causes it to bypass opportunities.
- The tyranny of the urgent syndrome is present in a paycheck business. Despite all the activity, the business can’t get ahead. There is always something in front of its owners and management that is more important than the last crisis.
- Any chance of long-term success for this business is uncertain at best and relies to a large degree on luck. In the end, the true value of the paycheck business is a disappointment for the owner.
When a business is an investment it looks like this:
- The owner(s) of an investment business understands why the business exists, what it is and what it isn’t. They know what its final destination looks like and have charted a course to get there. An investment business is in a much better position to survive despite economic ups and downs.
- Creating value is as important as producing income. Its owner(s) and management understand that the business is more than a paycheck. While it produces regular dividends in the form of income, the business also appreciates in value.
- Its better able to weather the inevitable storms that come because plans have been put in place to respond to challenges and opportunities alike. Its owners and management plan for the future, measuring and building upon successes and learning from failures.
- Its owner(s) know what the end of the road looks like. They have planned for it and when it comes time to sell the business, they have created value that does not disappoint.
Which kind of business do you have?
How could your business become more of an investment rather than a paycheck?
Want to go further? Download Key considerations for improving your business Terri Krohn