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Business Owner’s Manifesto: Must Do’s

A business owner has to be clear about why s/he’s in business, what his/her responsibilities in running the business are, when to go for it and when to get out, how the business potential can be maximized and why the business is there in the first place. The Business Owner’s Manifesto makes the key issues clear.

A GOOD INVESTMENT – I am the Leader of this business and am responsible to see that the business is treated and evaluated on the same basis as any business investment I might make, both in terms of time and money invested. I may have paid managers and staff to perform some or even all of the day-to-day tasks, but ensuring an adequate return on investment (blood, sweat and money) is my responsibility and my responsibility alone.

ACHIEVING SECURITY/ROI – I recognize that there are two components of an adequate return: First, time invested must be compensated through salary, benefits and perks; AND, money invested must be guaranteed a fair rate of return plus a premium for the level of risk assumed (by operating a small business – usually 3-5% over prime). Adequate returns do not just happen; they are achieved through planning and action. This commitment involves setting realistic, quantifiable goals; taking the steps necessary to see to it that those goals are achieved; that results are measured and meet expectations; that we celebrate our victories; and, that we adapt, as needed, along the way.

IT'S A BUSINESS – I am responsible to ensure that the business I have invested in has a real business and community purpose. This means: I must be realistic about not throwing good money after bad; about separating real business activity from my own ego gratification; and about assuring at least a baseline of security for myself and those who depend on this business by taking prudent risks.

I am responsible to the people who work in my business. This involves: establishing organizational goals; providing direction about their responsibilities in meeting these goals; setting standards of performance; and providing job performance feedback. This organized approach frees employees to perform effectively because it assures them that their positions are not held capriciously at my whim and that their paychecks are not constantly in jeopardy. This approach also facilitates identifying organizational successes and potential roadblocks. In a world of rapid change, just a little perceived security goes a long way.

Finally, I am responsible to myself, my family and my other stakeholders to engage in an active program of succession planning. Timely, thorough succession planning can facilitate a smooth transition when the day comes that I determine that: the business is no longer viable; I have personally had enough of it; orFeature Articles, it has just become time for me to step aside.

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John Reddish works with and speaks to leaders who want to master growth, transition and succession, helping them to get results faster, less painfully and in ways that work for them. Author, speaker, consultant and mentor, John is a member of NSA. For booking and product information: . Call 800.726.7985, internationally 01.610.388.9335, or at

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