Who Are You When You Retire?

Who Are You When You Retire?

Business Lifestyle Retirement self development

Well it was bound to happen. The boomers are booming. Statistics Canada reports that a full one third of working Canadians will retire in the next 5 years. More and more of the business owners I meet are wanting to plan how they are going to exit their business as their retirement approaches, and they are wise to be planning ahead!

The main question for a business owner is, “Do I want to sell it, close it, or pass it on to a family member?” And the decisions and action plans are different depending on this overall objective.

Yet the bigger issue that would-be retirees face is what they are going to do, or be, once they retire. Because our identity is so connected to our work or business, it can be difficult to feel confident in our own skin when we are no longer in the work world.

Who am I when I’m not working?

Planning for retirement has traditionally involved financial and lifestyle changes, however there are other self-awareness and psychological issues to address as well.

Here are 4 important issues that need attention as you approach retirement…

Connections, Groups and Affiliations

It’s important to have communities and interests that you love outside the home BEFORE you retire, so that the sudden abundance of time can be filled in part, with things and people you are passionate about.  If you’ve been working so hard you’ve forgotten what you’re passionate about, then you have more self-exploration to do in preparation for retirement.

Productivity and Impact

Knowing how you want to make a ripple in the world after your work life ends is also important.  We can fill our retirement days with fun and leisure but at some point, we’re going to feel the itch to be productive.  This might be in the creative arts, or it could be through volunteering, or perhaps it’s the legacy you leave by being a caregiving influence in your grandchildren’s lives.

Align your Intimate Relationship

Long before you reach retirement you will need to create a shared vision with your spouse or partner. Inevitably your individual dreams are going to differ, and, there is always a way, if you’re willing to find it, to have those dreams to harmonize into a joint future that you can build together.

Freedom to Be Whoever you Want to Be

When the expectations of the work world are behind you, and you’re facing the final phase of life we call elderhood, what is it that you need to give yourself permission to do, be or have, that you never allowed yourself before?!  Will you be that eccentric renaissance man, or that cheeky, tell-it-like-it-is hip grandma, or will you simply wear something previously considered ‘outrageous’ and walk around town not caring two hoots what anyone else thinks?  Why would you do this?!  For the sheer joy and freedom of expressing your true nature!  And because we live most of our lives conforming to other people’s rules about right and wrong, and the final third of our lives is the last chance to shed all that and finally be who we really are!

So, dear Wild Ones, I ask you this:

What is it that you need to let go of in order to be free to enjoy your retirement?

Post a comment here and let me know your answer. Or contact me for a conversation about how I can help you create more Meaning and Fulfillment.

Until next time, be free and wild,

Sue

How Do You Grow: Part 2 of the Traps of Scaling Business

How Do You Grow: Part 2 of the Traps of Scaling Business

Business Culture Leadership Profitability

In Part 1 of this blog, we introduced the scenario that many business owners face once they are through the initial start-up phase and are generating momentum… and that challenge is scaling business effectively and sustainably.

We’ve addressed the first two traps to scaling: neglecting profitability and neglecting culture.  Let’s look at the other 3 common pitfalls of the rapid growth phase of business.

Adjusting to Market Changes

The marketplace has changed since you successfully launched with your unique proposition. Customers are more savvy and demanding, and your customers have innovated to bring new features and services that rival yours. When Yellow Tail wine was introduced in 2001, it was the first blended wine to offer a more complex flavour experience that was still pleasing to most, an economical and everyday wine experience. It enjoyed tremendous success until competing products of equal value joined the offering, and Yellow Tail needed a new strategy to continue to compete.

Question to Action: What is your next move to reclaim your competitive advantage while meeting customers’ needs in a unique way?

Different Strengths are required from your Management Team

Your management team includes you, as the CEO and Founder, and one of the most common pitfalls of rapidly growing businesses is the loss of control.  As you build out your extended team in the business, you and your managers need different competencies and strengths than when you launched. You will need to be effective at delegating, coaching and holding accountability in order to ensure you are aware of action and progress, and your direct reports are clear on their responsibilities.  You will also need to increase your capacity for complexity, removing yourself from detailed hands on activity, and overseeing more diverse activity, and provide more of a visionary role in anticipating future needs and mobilizing resources to address these. You and your management team may grow with the business, or you may not.  It might be time to make changes in the team now so that management capacity will carry your business successfully into the future.

Question for Action: What leadership strength gap in you or your team is hurting the business right now?

Business Operations cannot handle the Volume or the Complexity

Operations and systems is what most people think of when thinking of scalability challenges. You may reach the limit of the capacity of your manufacturing equipment, or your labour hours, or your processes and IT systems cannot handle the load as business grows.  Perhaps you need to finance the purchase of new capital, or you need a larger facility, or your distribution channels need to be expanded.  Or possibly you need to do a hiring blitz, revamp the process flow of documents through the office, or make improvements for efficiency. You took great care in choosing your operating model before you launched, and it’s important to revisit that regularly to keep it working optimally.  Often the biggest problem is not knowing where the true problem lies.  You may need to call in the expert team such as an Advisory Board to troubleshoot for you and develop the best solutions. Talk to us to find out how our Expert Advisory & Implementation Team can help.

Questions for Action: What one thing, when resolved, would have the greatest impact on your business’ ability to grow?

There is nothing more rewarding than building a business from the nothing, into a thriving and profitable workplace, making a positive difference in the world. And we want you to be aware of the potential pitfalls so you can maximize your chances of success.

How are you navigating these scaling challenges in your business? We’d love to hear from you so leave us a comment below to join the dialogue.

Until next time, be free… and wild,

Sue

The 5 Traps of Scaling Up Your Business

The 5 Traps of Scaling Up Your Business

Business Culture Leadership Profitability

As a business owner, you know that change is inevitable… especially when you’re scaling up a business.  You built your business with passion, blood, sweat and tears, and while your start-up challenges may be behind you, there’s a whole set of new issues to face on the horizon.

These are the growing pains of the SME entrepreneur.  Is my initial objective to build to sell still what has meaning for me? Do I have the right people on the bus for growth rather than launch activities? How do our financial targets need to change to reach a profitability that is sustainable?

Over 95% of new businesses never grow beyond $1 million in revenue.

Here’s why…

Too Little Attention to Bottom Line Targets

During the start-up phase, it’s all about making sure there’s enough cash coming in to cover the expenses and payroll going out. And all too often, there isn’t, which is why start-ups often rely on personal, private or public financing. Once the demand and the supply are established, however, it’s time for the business to start focusing on gross margins and profit.  Entrepreneurs assume that in order to increase profit, they need to increase sales, but that’s not necessarily the best, or easiest, way to do it.  All expenses (fixed, variable, and payroll) need to be re-assessed in order to create and sustain a profitable business early in the growth phase. The inability to become profitable is the number one reason businesses fail.

Questions to Action: What is the monthly $$ we would have needed last month to make a profit AFTER paying expenses, payroll, owner’s pay and pay down debt?  What would it take to reduce our cash outflows by that much next month?

Culture is Neglected

Without deliberately cultivating the culture of your company as you grow, it will run amok like a class full of teenagers when the teacher doesn’t show up. Your business culture includes the values and beliefs of all the staff, and the way they behave at work.  As the entrepreneur, if your company values are not communicated and expected behaviours are not made clear, then you’ll lose the unique strength that made your business successful at launch and you’ll see declines in cohesion, trust and productivity.

Question to Action: What do we stand for and how does that show up in our day to day actions?

In part 2 of this blog, we explore the next 3 traps of scaling business, and what you can do about them.

As the CEO, what are your business growing pains?  Leave a comment below to join the discussion.

Until next time, be free… and wild.

Sue