Time, money and people
Have you ever noticed how there never seems to be enough of the three resources? In just one week I’ll be ending 22 years of self-employment and have been reflecting on my time as a soloprenuer. There has never been a moment during those 8,000-odd days that I haven’t bemoaned the fact that:
I never had enough money to allow my business vision to reach its full potential. I started in 1987 with a Â£10,000 unsecured overdraft facility with HSBC and, by 2007, that had grown to a Â£30,000 facility for The Dental Business School.
The businesses that I operated had good and bad years, just like everybody else, but even in the good years, although I usually reinvested some of the “fat” in the business, mostly I just went shopping;
In the bad years (and there some very bad years), I battened down the hatches, stopped shopping and borrowed extra money to tide me through – but had to repay those loans with sheer effort on my own part – often selling time and thus damaging my work/life balance;
My support team were always talented, loyal, fun people – who were in a constant state of overwhelm with the sheer quantity of transactions they had to deal with – just to keep the status quo – never to expand. That’s why nobody ever stayed longer then 4 years – I burned them out;
So I spent years dreaming a dream of a “proper” super-sized company – one in which I wasn’t responsible for 80% – 100% of the income generation PLUS all the duties of finance, marketing, sales, operations and H.R., head cook and bottle-washer.
But I never managed to build the dream into a reality.
Because I never had enough money, enough people and enough time.
Now, I have relinquished my “independence” to become part of a Â£500m (?) company, working with a very talented leader and team of Executive Directors.
I spent yesterday with them, agreeing the 3-year vision, 12-month plan and 90-day goals for the Private Sector Division.
I have had the pleasure to join forces with an Operations Director who has until recently been running the national sales division of one of the world’s top computer companies.
I have interviewed for acquisitions manager and enjoyed meeting some very talented people.
We are building a team that is going to create a unique and pioneering new dental corporate.
I can see the money, the people and the time coming together.
It is very exciting.
And there is a moral here for all readers of this blog.
Don’t spend 22 years waiting for a self-employed miracle. Expecting you can somehow build a proper business from sheer effort and humungous sales.
It won’t happen.
Think deeply about what has to happen to get your business properly capitalised – supported by either private equity, institutional investors or private investors to get you operating at the right level.
I’m beginning to realise that its going to be simpler to run a Â£50m company than it was to run a Â£500,000 company.
And the real crunch moment is when you also understand that the market values a Â£500,000 business at 3 times earnings, a Â£2 million business at maybe 6 times earnings and a Â£50 million business at perhaps 10 times earnings.
Because there is more money, there are more people and they have the time.
I rest my case.