There’s a piece of advice I give to other business owners a lot when they’re struggling with a decision they need to make: “If your company had a voice, what would it say to you?” In other words, “What’s the best move for your company?”
Running a business isn’t easy, and sometimes personal feelings can cloud your judgment. It’s tempting to put off making big decisions when we’re uncertain of the outcome. Uncertainty leads to doubt and those racing thoughts asking, “Am I really doing the right thing?” When someone reaches that point, I tell them to listen to their company.
Sometimes you won’t like what your company is saying. It can be a hard truth like, “Fire your brother,” or “Change your entire business plan.” Or, in my case, “Fire your parents.”
‘You Need to Fire Your Parents’
Taking the company from my parents was not easy. We had reached a point where my dad was set in his ways, and I wasn’t able to introduce the ideas I had that would help the company grow. It was frustrating on so many levels. I saw my relationship with my parents start to erode, but I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. That’s when I thought, “Okay, what would the company tell me to do?”
“We’re not growing the way we need to grow. We need to make investments, not spend all the profits. If we don’t adapt with the times, we’re going to die.”
I knew this is what the company would say, and I could see where things would end if we stayed on that old course. Giving the company a voice allowed me to take action. I was able to move past my fear of upsetting my parents and make the hard choice.
One day, I walked into my dad’s office and gave him three options. Either I would buy his share of the company, he would buy mine, or I would quit and start a new business in some other field. Dad was furious at me because he knew I’d backed him into a corner. Up to that point, I had started doing more and more for the company. I was a better business manager, and I was able to grow the business faster than he could. Though he was working progressively less, Dad was terrified to let go.
Ultimately, my parents took the deal and let me take over. They were pretty upset at first, but over time, they came to realize it was the best decision. Our relationship now is better than ever.
‘Don’t Make It Easy’
Today I’m on the other side of the fence. I’m running the business, and my son Jake works for me. I want Jake to run the business one day, but when I listen to what the company says, I hear, “He needs to take over the business.” I can’t just give it to him. The day has to come when he’s willing to fight for it and when he’s confident enough to know he can. This means he needs to struggle.
My dad certainly made me struggle! Once, he made me train a new hire who was making more money than me, even though I was better at the job. When I asked for a raise, he only agreed to give me a quarter. It drove me nuts!
The thing is I don’t want my kids to struggle. I did enough struggling myself so things could be easier for them! But I know that it’s through struggle and hardships, when it’s sink or swim, that we become prepared for life’s challenges. When Jake first started working at the company, I had him outside doing yard-work for two years. He hated it, but he stuck with it. Now he’s in the marketing business, which he’s great at! Jake has studied so much Russel Brunson stuff that he could move to Idaho and work for ClickFunnels. (Don’t tell him I said that.)
My son has had to struggle a lot in this business, and I’ve seen him grow so much because of it. I’m sure one day the company will tell me it’s time for Jake to run the show, if that’s something my son wants to do. I just hope I’ll be smart enough to listen.
What Does Sklar Technology Partners Have to Say?
After everything my company has gone through over the years, I believe if it could talk, it would be grateful and encourage me to continue learning and investing in what has been producing results — specifically with our marketing and content.
I think the company would compliment me on how I treat our employees and tell me to express my gratitude verbally more often. I’m great at showing my appreciation with actions but don’t do as well with words. I know I’m fortunate and lucky to have the team we have here, and I’m excited about our future together.
I’m the luckiest business owner in the world; I’m certain about that. Not because of any monetary gains but because of the relationships I’ve benefited from, with both employees and customers. I believe the business would thank me for the deal I made with my parents years ago and for grooming Jake to secure the future, if he decides to do that.
The thing about giving your company a voice is that it’s not all hard choices and criticisms. Sometimes your company will let you know when you’re doing a good job too.
Thanks for reading,
Randy Sklar, CEO
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