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Own It!

“Own It!” is a phrase I am hearing lately. Not just being accountable, but taking personal responsibility for the task, milestone, or job. Doing everything in your power and influence to achieve and excel. My question is about your career and your business. Do you own it? Are you an employee who takes ownership for your career rather than relying on others to tell you what to do and even make it happen for you? Do you own your job? Do you own a business? Are you doing everything possible to grow the business in both sales and profits? Are you working to making it sustainable without you? Are you increasing its value to a prospective buyer?

If you think you own a business, try answering these questions. Are you an employee in your business? Are you a manager in your business? Are you a leader in your business? Do you have a job, own a job, own a business, manage a business or lead a business? Your present and future wealth in terms of both time and money depends on your answer and how you plan to “own it” in the future.

It’s easy to understand “having” a job. You work for someone else and you get a paycheck. Maybe you get some benefits from the employer. With a good job, you get to have input into how it is done and can make positive improvements. The best jobs even give you friends that you can do things with outside of work. You get to go home at reasonable hours and the job does not overly interfere with your personal life. That’s time, money, and friends–true wealth.

Many that “have” a job, dream of “owning a business.” It’s not just the American way, it may be inherent in our DNA to some extent. This world was populated from the dawn of man with people that left home to chart their own course and start something that could grow. Maybe you start with a hobby that leads to you selling to a few friends and family. That leads to a farmer’s market booth. With luck, you move to having a brick and mortar store or selling on-line. Chances are you “have” a business, but “own” a job. You are the business. It does not exist without you. You get sick and there is no business. You cannot take a vacation. You don’t have enough opportunity to take time for yourself. Instead of “owning a business,” you now “own a job.” If you try selling this “business,” you will quickly learn that the only people that will purchase it is another person that wants to be an employee and has the same skills as you do.

Independent contractors are often caught between “having” a job and “owning” a job. When things go well, they make good money and escape the requirements of most employees. In the worst case, they have no work for long stretches of time. With laws and lawsuits related to co-employment, many employers are cutting back on this option.

When you start a business from scratch, even with the help of a franchise organization, you start as someone that both “owns a job” and “owns a business.” The key is to make the business sustainable without you being the sole salesperson bringing in the customers, or the sole operator making sure the product gets produced. You want to advance to the point where you are working hard “in the business,” but able to “manage the business.” You are still essential to the business and have trouble taking time off. Part of that is that attitude of “own it” that drives you to do everything in your power and influence to grow it to be sustainable—sustainable without you. With this, you are on the road. You are still working “in the business,” but now you “manage a business.” If you look to sell this business, you’ve generated some value that others will appreciate. If you are generating profits beyond what you need for your own compensation, then there is a chance someone can buy your business, be able to learn it as needed, pay back any loans they need to purchase it.

The best place to be is to be a “leader of your business.” In this case, you likely have friends who are customers and friends that are in the same business elsewhere in the country or world. You likely have friends within the community that look to you as a leader and non-profits and charities appreciate your wisdom and your financial resources to help them. You spend your time as much outside the virtual walls of your company as you do with the people managing and working inside. You are focused the future with a bifocal lens on the current business financials and internal issues. You can take time away from the business for yourself, confident that people and processes are in place to keep it humming. You not only have money that you take out of the business, but the business has inherent value to others that can see it growing and able to run. Try selling this business, and you will find many people willing to bid for it, driving up the price.

For your business, don’t just “own it.” Seek real wealth of Time, Friends, and Money. Be a leader of your business!


2 Responses

  1. Greg Shipman says:


    Really good article. I have not gotten to the point where I am the Leader of the business but am working hard with Michael to get him selling on a consistent basis so that I can lead and take the time to do other things involving Nancy since we are now “empty nesters”. Work in process!



    • Paul Menig says:

      Every business needs to develop its people, whether they are family members, critical employees, or valued leaders.