“I believe I have the skills I need to take my business to the next level.”  (Lesson 1)

That’s a statement I’ve heard a lot. It’s a common belief among business owners, and why not? After all, if you’ve started a business, and built it up to an annual turnover of a million dollars or more, you’re doing something right. The chances are you’re very good at your trade, whatever it is, and that’s helped you develop a client base and a solid reputation. Your own skills have brought you this far, so they’ll take you on to the next level, right?

That sounds sensible, but unfortunately there’s a good chance it’s not the case. In fact, it can be a great way to go broke. Once your turnover starts climbing into multiple millions things get a lot more complex than they were before, and a different set of skills is needed. You’re dealing with more people as your business grows. Keeping control of what’s going on becomes more difficult, because the machine of your company has more moving parts.

The chances are you’re spending less time on the shop floor and more in the office – and if you’re not, you should be. As you work towards stepping things up a gear and growing turnover into the two, five or even ten-million-dollar range your own role needs to change.

You managed to bring your business this far because you’re good at what you do. Whether it’s building, engineering or printing, you had the skills needed to deliver a quality service that brought in customers – and it worked.

But if you want to move from being a small to a medium-sized business you can’t rely on the talents that saw you through to where you are now. To move on you have to develop the skills of a business leader. You’re not a builder anymore; you own a building company, and that’s a totally different job.

By now you can probably see why I started this article with the quote I chose. Your talent and experience were essential, and you wouldn’t have gotten this far without them, but they’re not going to take you onwards and upwards. This isn’t always an easy thing to accept. For many people it takes them out of their comfort zone, and that’s understandable. It’s always easier to stick with something you know than set off into uncharted waters; however, if you don’t change your mindset you’re not going to grow.

One of my long-term clients said to me when we started working together, “I don’t want to pick up a hammer anymore – but I need to learn how to not pick up a hammer.” He’s a pleasure to work with, because he was already prepared to develop the new mindset he needed. That was the key to his success.

Now his focus is on making sure he has the right people and the right clients, and over the last three years his business has tripled its earnings. He hasn’t picked up a hammer much in those three years, because that’s not his job anymore; his job is running a building company.

To your success,