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Your Role is About to Change - Here's Why

Your Role is About to Change - Here's Why

January 26, 2012

R.U. Darby and his gold-mining uncle have crucial message for you.

As the story goes, Darby's uncle was bound and determined to cash in on the California Gold Rush. So he staked his claim and started digging. After a lot of hard work, he found a vein of ore so he covered up his find and went back home to raise the money he needed to mine it.

Darby and his uncle raised the money and returned to the site to dig for gold and make their millions. And they dug. And they dug some more. And they kept digging for a long, long time. The vein was gone.

Here's the beginning of the big rub. They quit in frustration and sold the mining machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars.

What did the junk man do? He hired a mining engineer and guess what he found?

After raising enough money for equipment and laboring in the mines for gold, R.U. Darby and his uncle gave up. Later, they learned they were just 3 feet from gold when they quit.

You guessed it. Darby and his uncle put all that work into digging and stopped just 3 feet from gold! Just 3 feet!

The junk man went on to make millions. Darby learned his lesson the hard way. The good news is that he paid off all the money he borrowed and decided never to give up again. He went to start a very successful insurance company and actually earned more from selling insurance than he would have from the gold mine, as Napoleon Hill tells the story in his classic book, Think and Grow Rich.

But there's much more to the lesson that I want to share with you because I'm betting that you are a lot like many of our clients and you're probably just 3 feet from gold yourself.

What do I mean?

See if this sounds familiar ... 'We can't waste time thinking about what we're going to be doing 12 months or even 6 months from now. That's just wishful thinking. We need to grow the business now! Not next week or even next month!

'We need to start making money now and putting more money in the bank, then we can start thinking about what we need to do next. But for right now, we just need to make more sales.'

Perhaps you've even found yourself saying those same words. I know I have at times. And I hear from quite a few of our clients who tell me the same thing too.

They're in the stage of the business life cycle I call the 'Big Rub.'

Soon after the business is born and while things are growing and everything is still exciting you begin to feel the growing pains. And it doesn't matter if you've been in business for 5 months, 5 years or even 15 years; most business are still in the early growth stages just trying to get through the 'Big Rub.'

Take one of our clients who I'll call "Ben". He started his business 10 years ago on his vision of a company that could perform better than anyone else in the business. And he's done just that. It's quite a remarkable story because he's been able to hire a sales staff, operations team, support staff and has built a well-recognized brand. But everything would fall apart tomorrow if anything happened to him.

And the way he sees it, he wants to start slowing down and hire others to run the business without him.

But the way I see it, he's 3 feet from gold. That's the 'Big Rub.'

'Happy Harry' was so close too. He was the owner of a handful of Happy Harry's Discount Drugs in Delaware until he died unexpectedly in 1987. His son, Alvin Levin, took over as president and CEO of the company to fill the void and quickly saw the potential for growth. Within a very short time, he grew the chain to 76 outlets in the mid-Atlantic region and in 2006 sold the business to Walgreen's.

Sometimes the owner or entrepreneur who started the business does need to step aside. Other times the entrepreneur needs to get even more involved at this stage of the business to develop the team and systems so they can grow it alone.

But what is clear is that a new vision is needed, one that can see beyond just making more money while at the same time you have to make more money! Is it any wonder why you haven't gone nuts already?

Don't give up. The key is to understand your role and what's needed to get yourself out of the Big Rub.

Consider this. When you started the business you were the 'Driver.' You had a picture in your mind of what your business would look like, which markets you would serve, what products and services you would offer and how you would set yours apart from the competition with the course you set. That was fun!

Then you had to switch gears and shift into the 'Doer' role. Here you were the one bringing in the business, serving customers, following up with them, creating your own marketing and advertising and perhaps even fixing up the office a few times. If it had to be done, you did it!

For a business to succeed it must have all four roles listed above. As it moves through the "Big Rub" the role of Manager becomes increasingly important. What is your role? What else do you need to continue to grow the business?

But now, you realize you can't do everything anymore. You still need 'Doers' to find new business opportunities and grow the company. You still need a 'Driver' to steer a course for the business. But you also need 'Managers' to put the systems and processes in place for others to follow so they operate more efficiently. Controlled chaos won't cut it anymore. And you need 'Negotiators,' people who can work with others and get things done day-to-day.

For every business to grow and be successful they must have these four elements: Doer, Manager, Driver and Negotiator.

When you're stuck in the Big Rub, you still need a 'Driver' with an entrepreneurial spirit to grow the business. The 'Doer' is also critical in this stage but as the business grows, the 'Manager' becomes more dominant.

So which role do you play? Are you the Driver? Doer? Manager? Or Negotiator? If you're a strong Doer-Driver like many of our clients, you also need a strong Manager-Negotiator to help you continue to grow. In many cases, the Manager-Negotiator is the #2 person in the organization who is just as important as the Doer-Driver. Whether you're still involved or not, isn't the point. But it's clear you can't do all of them. Those roles need to be filled by someone. So who are the best people to fill them?

Every light has a shadow; and the greater the light the greater the shadow. The light represents your strengths. These are the things that helped you build a successful business. The shadow, however, represents darkness. These are your weaknesses.

Usually the entrepreneurs we work with have amazing talents in some areas and huge weaknesses in others. The greater the light, the greater the shadow.

The secret then is to determine your role in the life cycle of your business and find others who can make up for your weaknesses.

As you do, you'll find that you weren't too far from the gold after all.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,


Jon Goldman
Brand Launcher