Your Most Important Job as a Business Owner (It’s Not What You Think)

“So, what do you think?”, she asked. “Are you in?”

Walking briskly, moving excitedly from room to room, she suddenly paused, turned to me, and waited. I froze. Hesitated. Fumbled for an answer.

I had no idea what to say.

My colleague had moved to the area a few months earlier. Even before her move we’d talked about joining forces as business partners. Now that she was here, it was time to act.

I’d established a new business, a small private counseling practice that was off to a good start. She’d built, run and sold a clinic in her home state. Our potential was enormous and, to tell you the truth, a little daunting.

We were definitely about to grow, but this force in front of me – who eventually became one of my best friends – was used to thinking bigger than I was at that point.

So it threw me when she was ready, right off the bat, to jump to a new office space.

A really, really nice office space.

I’d already rented a small suite with just enough space for 3 people. It may have been in, ahem, a less-than-gorgeous office building – but the location was good, the parking plentiful, and the rent affordable.

The space in which we now stood was gorgeous, a beautifully restored, Victorian home with wrap around porches on a quiet street right in the middle of my small town. I’d peeked through the windows before, imagining what it would be like to work in such a beautiful space.

But never in a million years would I consider moving there; it was way over my head.

That is, until Linda blew into town.

My rent was about $350 a month for the space I was in. 

This beautiful home would be about $1200 a month.

How in the world could we possibly make such an enormous leap?

So I hemmed and hawed, raised this point and that.

What about handicap access? Could we even use the (beautiful, early 20th century) fireplaces? What about the lease we already had? Where would people park?

On and on I went. Until, finally, Linda turned to me with a genuine smile and said, “Well, I’m going to rent it, so you can decide later what you want to do.”

That became a defining moment in our relationship (and a running joke), when I realized how focused, decisive and Courageous she was. And she realized, as she’d tell you today, that my “process was just a little different”.

It just takes me a little longer sometimes.

So she rented the main floor, and we did, indeed, join her a few months later. Before long, we doubled the space (and the rent), taking the 2nd floor too when we grew from four therapists to a full house of ten. Eventually, we became one of the premier private counseling centers in our region.

But that couldn’t have happened without a series of decisions.

  • My decision to start a practice, and a vision for what that practice would look like.
  • My decision to leave a paying job and devote myself full time to building that practice. (Even though it was scary.)
  • My decision to reach out and invite outstanding colleagues to join me.
  • Linda’s decision to sell her clinic and move half way across the country.
  • Our decision to move to a larger, beautiful, up-leveled space, even though that was scary too.
  • Our decision to add additional space after that, even before we had people to fill it.
  • Our decision to invite colleagues who fit our vision as we grew.

Each point, a crossroads.

Your most important job as a business owner isn’t what you think it is.

It’s not about making money.

Though goodness knows that’s really, really important.

And it’s not about providing a great service or developing a great product.

It’s not even about making the world a better place.

No, your most important job as a business owner, quite simply, is this.

It’s about making decisions.

Most of us don’t think about that much. In fact, until a decision is staring us in the face, we quite often tend to avoid the whole dang thing.

And yet – being the one who calls all the shots, means you’ve actually got to, well, call those shots.

It can be daunting sometimes.

Do I call on a potential client? Or leave her alone?
Do I offer a new service? Or revamp what I already have in place?
Do I hire an assistant? Or just work harder?
Do I work out of my home? Or rent a space in town?
Should I work on marketing right now? Or focus on my blog post?
I really just want to sleep another hour. Is that okay?

The decisions never stop. And there is no one else to make them.

They’re your’s.

And mine.

For 3 years, in many ways, I’ve been helping women uncover Courage that they already had but rarely recognized. We threw pottery on a wheel, put minnows on hooks, and flew off a cliff under the wings of a big beautiful kite. And I’ve loved every minute.

And yet, I’ve come to another crossroad, and made another decision. As I must.

(Though Linda won’t be surprised that it’s taken me a while to get here.)

Soon, I’ll be folding Secret Adventures into my private coaching practice. And that means they will no longer be offered to the public as a stand-alone service.

This has been a tough decision – but then again, the biggest ones usually are. 

So what about you?

What decisions have you been putting off?

And what decisions will you make THIS week, to move your business forward?

Photo Credit: Mark Strozier, Wendy PItts Reeves on Flickr


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