Momentum Podcast: 59
Your Business Will Always be Broken
by Alex Charfen
When I'm coaching high-level entrepreneurs who are growing teams I have a phrase I share help them feel comfortable with growing their business “your business is broken and if things go well it always will be”. Far too many entrepreneurs expect their businesses to feel perfect, they beat themselves up over gaps or flaws, and they have challenges when things don't go exactly right. Businesses are meant to be broken, they are constantly shifting and adjusting to growth, market conditions, and things are going well an expanding team. All of these dynamics can lead to challenges, issues, and constraint that you as the business owner will learn to adjust and move forward. Far too many business owners are trying to build the perfect business. The fact is the only business that is perfect, and doesn't have any problems, is one that is closed. Once you're out of business, there are no problems. If you pursue a perfect business, you may end up without one. Instead understand that businesses break and each time we close a gap or correct an issue, our businesses get stronger.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off, and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.
Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them and then re-write them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few, who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive, human evolution, and we always will be.
Welcome to Episode 59, Your Business Will Always Be Broken. I coach entrepreneurs who operate at the highest levels. The entry level program where I work directly one-on-one with entrepreneurs, where we create their strategies, it's a million dollar a year plus program, so you have to be making at least a million dollars a year in your business. When I say coach entrepreneurs who operate at this highest level, I want everyone listening to understand that only three percent of businesses hit one million dollars.
I talk to a lot of people these days who've never run a business before. They're just getting into it. I ask them what their goal is, and they say one million dollars, and so it's like you want to make it into the 3 percent in your first attempt, which is really hard. But that's not what this broadcast is about. This one's about the fact that when you deal with people, when you work with people on million dollar plus businesses, and a lot of my clients have million dollar plus, 10 million dollar plus, some 20, 30, 40, even over 100 million, and in the past I've worked with billion dollar organizations. Not so much today. I still have contact with a few of my friends, but not so much today.
Today it's really the one million to, say, 20 to 30 million dollar companies where I specialize, and I help million dollar plus entrepreneurs put an infrastructure in place, so that they can accelerate to that eight figure mark, then the nine figure mark, and you have to put the infrastructure in place early to get there.
One of the mantras that I share with entrepreneurs over and over again, one of the things that I tell the people that I'm working with, is your business is broken, and if things go well, it always will be. I know that sounds weird, because here's what I mean by that. Every business is going to be broken. The only perfect business, the only business with no problems, no challenges, no issues, is the one that closed down.
I'll tell you, if you pursue a perfect business, if that's your goal to make everything perfect, to make everything right, you stand the chance of closing down, because the fact is that there is no perfection in business. There is no time where your business, especially if it's growing, especially if it's scaling, especially if you're getting more exposure, and you're bringing in clients, there's no way that you are going to hit a time where there are no issues, no challenges and everything is "perfect."
When we used to work in the real estate industry, there were a lot of people that used to say things like if you say how's business going, oh, just trying to build the perfect system, and I would always cringe because you really can't perfect the system.
Let's just look at what web businesses deal with, so, one, businesses have to exist in a dynamic market economy, so is any market economy in the world, including ours, perfect? Absolutely not. They're full of challenges, and red tape and currency changes, and political changes and consumer behavior changes, so there is no such thing as a perfect market. The second thing we have to deal with in growing a business when we're scaling is we bring in a team. We bring in leverage. We bring in help. Are people perfect? Gosh, I hope that as a business owner, you would never put the pressure on anyone around you of being perfect, or even close to it.
Team members are human beings. They have challenges. They may be rock stars. They may do incredible things for your business, but team members have challenges. They have personal issues. They get sick. They have family issues. The have crisis and trauma that happens to them, and there's no way it will ever be perfect with them.
And then the third big dynamic that businesses deal with is clients. I love my clients. I'm enthusiastic about them. When I get a message from them, or I get a question, I'm excited to answer, but are any one of my clients perfect? Absolutely not. They're joy [inaudible 00:05:10]. They're incredible to have as clients, but there's challenges in every business I've ever worked with, and the reason I share this is because far too many entrepreneurs focus on all the breaks. They focus on the challenges. They focus on the fissures, the cracks, the issues in the business, and they don't realize that those are just a natural part of growing a company. You should expect challenges to come up every day. You should expect issues to come up every day, and if you're in a fast growth company, just get accustomed to it.
Teach your team that you're not building a perfect organization. Teach your team to find the fissures, to find the cracks, to expose the problems, because here's what happens. If you're a CEO, or if you're running a business. You're a CEO, an operator, an owner of a business, and you're attempting to create a perfect system, your team will know that.
And here's what happens. When they know you're upset about challenges, you're upset about problems in the business, you want it to be perfect, you're pushing for that perfect system, the team is going to be much less likely to tell you where the problems are. They'll try and take care of them, cover up and move on. They'll try and put something in place and not really tell you about it, and if you're one of those owners that's constantly frustrated because something is going wrong, you actually will decrease the transparency in your organization. You will decrease the communication you get in your organization to the point where then you start having serious challenges.
This is why owners who pursue a perfect business often end up in a place where they don't have one, because here's the antithesis of that. Here's the other side. You want to congratulate your team members when they find something wrong. You want to give them a high-five when they find a problem in the business, and if someone makes a mistake in the business, you have an opportunity to make your business stronger. If a team member steps out of line, if they talk to a customer the wrong way, if they do something wrong, they lose you money, any of those things, you have an opportunity to go take care of that person, talk to them, make sure it wasn't on purpose. Make sure it wasn't negligent. Make sure that they still are on the team, and help them understand where the mistake was, and then put a process in place so it never happens again.
Businesses, or business owners who pursue perfection, constrain their business more than they can possibly understand. Business owners who understand my business will always be broken, and if things go well, it'll stay that way, they know that you're looking for the breaks, that you can anticipate them, that you know they're going to be there. You might not see all of them coming, but every time you find one, every time you find a challenge in your business, I want you to go from having heart palpitations and frustration, and thinking, oh man, I wish this stuff wouldn't happen, to celebrating because you've exposed an opportunity to strengthen your business.
You might have heard this phrase: the strongest breeze creates the strongest trees. The reason is because as a tree grows, the stronger the wind blows on that tree, the more that there's cracks and fissures and breaks in the tree, but nature has given trees an amazing ability that where they crack, where they break, they actually get stronger. Businesses are very much the same way. If you create a market opportunity that allows your business to grow and to scale, it's like that breeze on a tree. It will cause fissures and cracks and breaks in the business, and you as the owner, you as the entrepreneur, have the opportunity to go strengthen every one of those breaks.
And that's what you want, because the worst thing that can happen to you as a business owner is that you don't know where the breaks come up. The worst thing that can happen to you as a business owner is that your team doesn't expose where the challenges are. The worst thing that can happen to you as a business owner is that there are things that come up. There are points of friction. There's constraints in the business, and the team doesn't communicate them to you, because either consciously or subconsciously they know you're trying to build the perfect business and they don't want to upset you.
You don't want a perfect business. You want your team to be adaptable. You want them to react to market conditions. You want them to accept and bring in new team members and onboard them, and you want them to deal with your clients and to help them through any issues that you have helping them. This is a totally different way of looking at growing a business, and sustaining it over time, because as a business owner when you adopt the mantra, my business will always be broken, and if things go well, it'll be that way forever.
Everything in your world changes. You now accept the breaks. See them as opportunities. Your greatest points of friction in a business will become your greatest points of leverage. Throughout my history as a business owner, when we've had major issues or problems or concerns, or some of the most challenging things that have happened in our businesses, it has also resulted in the greatest opportunities.
When we had a speaking organization, and we had events going on all around the country, occasionally an event would go wrong. We'd have challenges. A speaker wouldn't get there. The product or the supplies wouldn't have gotten there on time. We had events where we had to give refunds to people, but each time that happened, we looked at what was the break in the process? What was the break in the chain of command? What was the break in how we were doing things on our actual checklists? And so what started with, when we put on an event, used to be when we first started a one page checklist, was eventually six and a half pages, that when our team executed that checklist, the chances of an event being successful were close to 95 or 99 percent.
It didn't start that way. It started with breaks. It started with challenges. It started with exposing flaws in the system, and each time we did that we put process in place to correct it. So if you're a business owner, and you're growing your business, take a step back. Take a deep breath, and think to yourself every time I find a break, it's an opportunity to strengthen this company. And remember, your mantra should be my business is broken, and if things go well, it always will be, because the only business that has absolutely no problems just shut down. And I know that's not where you want to be.
Thanks for being here with me for this episode of the Momentum Podcast, Your Business Will Always Be Broken. If you're an entrepreneur who's growing a business, if you are already at or approaching that one million dollar threshold, or you're past it, and you're ready to get the real infrastructure, the team, the forward looking planning system that's going to help you scale to eight figures and beyond, contact us. Get in touch, and if you'd like to understand more about our personality type, go to freemomentumbook.com and download the Entrepreneurial Personality Type. It's a book that may explain more to you than anyone ever has. Thanks for being here with me today.