Perhaps what is enough is the single most important question you can ask yourself.

Often, we ask our clients this, but uniquely, a new client mentioned it to us recently.

What do we mean?

You need to be clear why you are in business and what success means to you. Many people start in business, particularly when there is an economic downturn, because other alternatives are limited, or simply because they’ve been made redundant. Some also start because they think they can do a better job than their boss, and they feel undervalued. But few people stop to think about what success means past the start-up phase. That’s not surprising, as it’s the time of greatest risk, energy and focus, and when most businesses fail. But it’s not enough. Owners have to think longer term.

Why is it important?

It’s important because as the business grows, your time becomes used up very quickly and some of the reasons you may have had when you started, become secondary. That is because the day-to-day intrudes, so there is little time to think about the longer term. Without regular reminders about why you are in business, it’s easy to let the business take over your life to the detriment of your personal life and relationships.

We were talking to two owner clients just this week, and happily we have a plan which we will implement next week to get more rewards to the business owners without eye watering amounts of tax. Just at that time, the owners’ partners were saying

You’re telling me you’re successful but we’re not seeing it. What is the benefit to the family?

Fortunately, we can answer that question immediately, and we have a strategy in place to answer the longer-term questions.

Stages of business and personal life

There are stages in our business and personal life which we all go through, and they correspond to some extent with the times of life. A start-up business is like a toddler learning how the world works, then we move through adolescence where we think we know everything, and into our 20s and 30s, where we start to realise what we don’t know. Some of us come to some level of maturity in our 40s and onwards. These all correspond with the startup, growth, and maturity phases of a business. During those times we also form relationships and families. Our time becomes divided by more demands, both from the growing business, and from the growing family. We are torn between devoting our time to our business which will give, we hope, long term security to our family, and devoting time to them. Striking a good balance is extremely difficult

Growth for what?

You are starting to think about why the business is growing as much as it is. Does this fulfil all your objectives, both business and personal? Are you allowing the business to run your life, or do you think, as we do, that the business is a tool for personal and relationship development and goals? We have seen relationships breakdown because the business has taken over the owner’s life. And equally, we have seen both sides prosper when the balance is good. Pretentious perhaps, but we think our job, is to have happy clients. And by that we mean happy with themselves, understanding what they want out of life and having a clear idea how to get there.

We have a client in the northeast in a challenging industry. Yet the business is very profitable. He is an exceptional business manager. There’s some talk of selling as he is over 70, but in common with a lot of people, he has nothing as interesting to do with his time once his business is sold. So, whilst he is more and more receptive to the idea of enough, he hasn’t done much about it. He has just had major surgery and his life has been changed. In some respects, for the worse, but perhaps also for the better. He has realised that his team is perfectly capable of dealing with the day-to-day, and he doesn’t need to spend every waking minute in the business. So maybe he can be more relaxed about his business and selling because he can spend more time out of the business and get a different balance before he feels pressure to sell. And in the meantime, the business continues to be profitable and can fund pensions and lifestyle.

Personal growth = business growth

To achieve this, where the business grows at a manageable speed, and relationships with family and friends prosper as well, business owners need personal growth to match the business growth that they’re experiencing. If they don’t do this, and the business grows so quickly that they are firefighting a lot of the time, running faster and faster until they can’t run any faster and all their time is consumed by the business. The business is running them rather than them running the business.  

Money and time

What we’re all trying to achieve, whether we say it explicitly or not, is to earn more money but spend less time doing it. We can’t do that if the business is growing at a pace where our personal growth has not matched or exceeded it. Personal growth comes from learning and understanding what the business is doing now and what it could be doing in the future, and matching that against personal objectives to ensure that this balance is maintained.

To avoid firefighting, look at scaling, and training your people.

This works whether your business grows or not.

 The same money and less time is also a good strategy.

Our job, apart from making sure that our clients don’t get any problems with the authorities, is to help them on that personal growth journey by teaching, guiding, or mentoring, through an understanding with them of what they’re trying to achieve, and over what period.


Partly how we deal with the growth issue is by trying to scale, using our 5 steps, appropriately. Our two clients, which we mentioned, have doubled their business last year and are likely to double it again this year. They have a problem now and they have suggested a fix to us which solves today’s problem, but it probably won’t solve tomorrow’s so we’ve suggested an alternative. If we don’t solve tomorrow’s problem somehow, then we can easily see that the complaints about lack of time with the family are going to surface again. Happily for me, one of my children told me that they had a great childhood. That is a huge compliment for a father, and it’s something that I would like all the parents who are clients to think that they would get from their children.

How we can help you

We are all about helping you achieve the best life-work (not work-life) balance for you. We do what you need to keep you on the right side of the taxman, answer all your questions, and make helpful suggestions.

Always recognising that your business is a tool for you, not an end. We help you plan to live your best life for longer.

Freedom and independence are the keys to success, so book a free Business Energizer session with us to find out how to achieve it.