When you start a business, it’s your vision of a better solution that gets you started. For me, it was the vision of providing a better way for businesses to manage their accounting processes and streamline the fulfillment processes. From the beginning, I knew I couldn’t do it alone and although it started as my own vision for business and my own vision of success, I quickly realized that it in order to empower and encourage my employees and business partners, that I’d need to incorporate their visions of success into my own if I wanted my business to truly succeed.
Even my vision of success has changed throughout the years since I’ve owned and operated my business… Originally, I was dead set on a number. My success was predicated on my ability to become a millionaire. That was it. If I was a millionaire, I would be successful. If I could prove “everybody” wrong and show them that I was capable of earning a million dollars, then I could sleep well at night knowing that I had achieved success.
Well, I shortly realized that my definition of success was attainable but that it wasn’t actually going to help me feel fully fulfilled. I’d already learned after getting my girlfriend pregnant in high school that I could provide for myself and others. I learned how valuable sales are to a business and how to build deep relationships with potential customers and clients. Once you realize that becoming a millionaire is attainable, and a huge boost to your confidence, but not the thing that will actually lead you to feeling fulfilled, you have to revisit the drawing board and look at a better way to create that feeling of success.
For me, I realized that I had to start incorporating the visions of those that had bought into mine. First and foremost, I had to have shared conviction with my business partner, Trevor Cowley. I had to sit down and have conversations with him about what he wanted from the business, I had to figure out what his vision of success was.
This required a level of vulnerability that I didn’t know it was going to… The thought of not owning complete control of the direction of my business was something that seemed threatening to my idea of success. It was counterintuitive but would be one of the best decisions I ever made in business.
Napoleon Hill says a mastermind is, “The coordination of knowledge and effort between two or more people who work towards a definite purpose in a spirit of harmony…no two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.” Until I was able to incorporate the visions of Trevor in my business, I wasn’t able to truly understand or tap into this idea of a mastermind. I was unable to tap into the power of a unified force that was more powerful than the sum of its parts.
“A team aligned behind a vision will move mountains.” – Kevin Rose
That doesn’t mean all conversations were easy or that we always had the same vision. When you start looking for business partners and looking to share a vision with others. They will inevitably have a different vision and idea of what success looks like to them. You won’t always agree on what that exact vision is and it will require some amount of negotiation in order to accomplish that shared vision. There will be “give and take,” and sometimes you’ll have to adjust your idea of what success looks like in order to allow both visions to fit into the larger puzzle.
Be prepared to have these conversations and to negotiate with your business partners about what success looks like to them. Tim Ferriss says “your success in life is in proportion to the number of uncomfortable conversations you’re willing to have and how well you negotiate them,” I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment and it’s proved true with my business and personal conversations…
Next comes the question of how to incorporate the visions of those who have bought into your long-term vision but aren’t partners in the company… After some time, it was clear that Trevor and I had a shared vision of success and that we were moving forward towards it with momentum. It was also clear that we had inspired some of those who worked for us in a big way. They were fully committed to our vision of success and we wanted to reward them. We wanted them to know that we care about their vision of success as much as they cared about our business.
We knew we had key players in our business that needed to be valued more than just the salary and compensation package that we were currently providing, but we didn’t want to give them equity in the company. It’s easy for a business owner to want to give equity to those that are working hard for your business’s success… but I’ve found that it’s not always the best decision for your business. More effectively, we’ve found that sharing in the profit of the company and giving monetary incentive in the case of buyout is a great way to show your key players how much you care about them without giving away principal ownership.
On top of that, giving key players in your company a voice and listening to their vision of what the company could be gives you valuable information about the direction of your company and ways that you can grow and expand your business to provide better service for more customers.
At the end of the day, I’ve realized that personal success is good but creating success for others is great and a great way to ensure that my business continues to grow. I’ve realized that now that my networth is well north of a million, that I want to provide that for others. It’s amazing to see how much the vision for my business has changed. The new vision for Trevor and I is to create millionaires with our business and allow our customers to spend more time doing what they love with their family.