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Most of us don’t think about having many businesses with our name on them when we start out as business builders. We like the independence and prestige of owning our own business, so we work and work to keep paying the bills and perhaps, make a little profit in the one enterprise we have. I have a suggestion. Take a few moments to think about what could happen if you visualize several businesses from day 1. What would you do differently? What would you plan for? What steps would you take to build more than one business? How would the activities you engage in change?

Did you think about making sure that the same qualities of excellence and efficiency were carried out in all your businesses? Did you consider the kind of people you would need in each place? Did you consider what budget levels you would need to add a new business each time? There is a lot to think about if you want your business to grow and make a great impact to society in several locations.

Even if you don’t want to have several businesses with your name on them, using a growth and replication perspective can make your business stronger, more profitable and best of all, give you time to do other things. Your main purpose for starting your business was independence, achieving your purpose and financial freedom. With this financial freedom, you see yourself enjoying life. However, more than three quarters of all small businesses never achieve all of these goals. They may enjoy independence and purpose but financial freedom is still far away and there is hardly any time to really enjoy doing other things in life. Most spend many hours just keeping the business alive.

“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.” Ronald Reagan, Actor and 40th President of the United States

The mindset required for building multiple strong businesses is call “generative thinking”.Generative thinking is the ability to hold a grand vision in mind while designing multiple definitive enterprises. In other words, your business building efforts are designed with the intent to repeat successful processes in several locations. It’s a growth and replication perspective. Initially, you may add one or two locations to your current enterprise and as they are successful, you will add more.

Does this sound like something from outer space? Are you wondering what kind of green tea I’m drinking? It’s true. You can actually plan to own several businesses with proven procedures.

Following are 3 basic things you will do as a generative manager:

First, you must have a deeply embodied and personal business Purpose. There must be a strong emotional and intellectual attachment to your Purpose or Mission. Kyle Zagrodzky in “7 Reasons Why the ‘Why’ is So Important in Business” explained the role of a Purpose with a clear analogy.

“Light moves in mysterious ways. A single beam of light can do a million different things depending on what it reflects through or onto. If you shine a ray of light into a crystal, you can see rainbows on the wall. Shine light onto a mirror, and you can project the beam into a dark corner. Tilt a prism just right, and you get one solid ray of rainbow colors. Focus a single laser beam just right, and you can slice steel.

Rediscovering the why in your business is like honing the laser to a razor point that’s sharp enough to cut through metal. The why isn’t just the reason you do what you do, it’s the consistent reminder that keeps you grounded, energized and focused. It’s your cause, your purpose, your motive and your proof. The why is the core belief in what you do.”

Your Purpose will take you through the disappointments, failures, and various difficulties that are normal parts of business building. Each time you experience a negative situation, you’ll be reminded of the ‘why’ you started the business. You’ll keep going.

Second, you will design a big Vision. This is a visualization of the ultimate outcome of your business building efforts. A good Vision is thoroughly designed and describes the dreams that you have for the enterprise(s) you are creating. A well thought out Vision has the following characteristics:

  1. It exhibits the purpose and direction of the business.
  2. It is supported by the established Values.
  3. It helps to set operational standards of excellence.
  4. It is believable and motivating.
  5. It is ambitious and challenging.
  6. It identifies the uniqueness of the business.

Your Vision is what your business will become in the future.

Third, your business strategy will be achieved through well designed Systems.  This is the primary component that will make your enterprise repeatable. Without tested and enforced Systems, your dream of many businesses can’t be achieved. Small businesses that succeed, develop systems of operation for almost every function performed. See “The E Myth” by Michael Gerber and “Stick With It” by Lee Colan. 

Business systems are activities performed in a consistent manner to achieve the business goals. Creating systems simply starts with documenting what you do and how you do it. It could be called an operations manual or a systems manual or some unique name that might come to you, but the object is to document the successful operations that you want to make routine.

“Organize around business functions, not people. Build systems within each business function. Let systems run the business and people run the systems. People come and go but the systems remain constant”

Michael Gerber

With effective dedication, planning, perseverance and resolve, you can become the owner of from 1 to 1000 businesses. The most important ingredient is how dedicated you are to your ‘why’.

Kyle Zagrodzky nailed it again when he shared:

“Sometimes, we just want to start something from the ground up, because there is no challenge like it. When things are first getting off the ground, entrepreneurs have to become experts in everything, from finance to marketing and everything in between. It’s an uphill climb like no other, and genuine entrepreneurs thrive on the drive required to crest that hill. Whatever the longest, worst day throws at you, it’s never, ever going to be dull.”

A simplified and clear starting point is to read and apply “20 Directives for Small Business Success: Do or Die”

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