Lack of time is the biggest problem facing most small business owners. Why? Because their entire business resolves around them. I was exactly the same, but I found a solution. Here’s how creating a strong family culture has changed my life.
As the founder of a small business, I have a huge amount of ambition, drive and curiosity to create something special. In the early days, my ambition caused some big problems. Fortunately my curiosity and drive also saved me.
From 2004 to 2008, I grew a business from start-up to a small team of 20 people that was profitable, sustainable and even won a few awards. But I was stuck. I had built myself a job and the entire business relied on me. I was the glue that held the place together. I’d even recruited my sister, my best mate and my fiancé to help me handle the amazing complexity that I’d created. I was working 6-7 days a week, was eternally stressed and knew that I couldn’t do this forever. Owning a business was supposed to be fun!
In 2009, I discovered the concept of creating a values-based business. The idea according to Verne Harnish, author of The Rockefeller Habits, where I first read of creating a strong workplace culture, is based upon three things:
- Having a few rules (core values)
- Repeating yourself a lot (telling endless stories of the values being lived)
- The owner having the discipline to personally follow those rules (core values) every day
According to Harnish, a strong workplace culture leads to better performance, higher retention and amazing simplicity. Well I had nothing to lose, so I set out to discover our core values and use them as the basis for creating a strong family culture that would help get my life back.
Fast forward three years from there to today and I continue to be the CEO of The Physio Co. However, there are some huge differences in my working life: The Physio Co is twice the size, is more profitable and I have my life back. I now spend two days per week in our South Melbourne Support Office where we have a talented team that support our caring physio team and continue to grow our business. The remaining 3 days of my week are spent working from home where I focus on just three things: vision, values and alignment.
The Physio Co now has an amazingly talented group of people who together will deliver more than 100,000 unique and memorable physiotherapy consultations to Australian aged care resi’s in 2012. And it no longer revolves around me!
Building a values-based culture has helped create hours in my day and has literally changed my life. It’s not a quick fix but it is one of the most sustainable and rewarding ways to simplify a business.