Dear founder, we love you, and here’s why. At the last count, there were 5.7 million SMEs in the UK. SMEs account for an astonishing 99% of all businesses operating on this fair isle. (Give yourself a little pat on the back.) That means at some point, and I am generalising here, 5.7 million of you woke up one morning and said today is a new day and I am going to do something different.
It’s no secret. I had the same epiphany at approximately 4 o’clock in the morning, staring out of my friend’s Velux window watching the sun rise. It just took that little flick of the switch and everything changed.
And, for that, dear founder, we are on common ground.
That said, common ground isn’t the only reason for our love of working with you. It helps, as we can empathise, but no, here are the real reasons why.
You are the North Star
Like it or not, you are the North Star of your company. You were the original motivator and driving force behind the founding of your company. You had the burning passion to do something different. It is your belief system that has helped shape a lot of the decisions, and, if you are on an upward trajectory, you have a vision of the future. (Note, it is even more imperative that you talk to us if you are an a downward trajectory!)
It is that vision that we want to unearth, and only you, dear founder, can tell us that story. Middle-management won’t know. They have middle-management concerns. (No offence, middle-management.)
Not everyone in your organisation has a grasp on the vision, and as brutal as it sounds, not everyone cares, and nor should they.
Why is that important for your business? Because the reason why you set up your business, and the strategic vision you have is your differentiator, even if you know it or not.
You have a vested interest in the project’s success
Because you are the number one person that cares, you have a vested interest in the project’s success – possibly, even as much as we do. This isn’t about looking good in your boss’ eyes; you are the boss.
We can make tough decisions together, and work through the problems together because ‘looking good’ in someone else’s eyes has been removed from the proverbial table.
Again, you might ask, why is that important? All businesses go through different stages of growth – and therefore pain points – so being able to make tough decisions without having to defer to others is vital. Because it’s your livelihood and the livelihood of others, you know what is vitally important and what isn’t. (Yup, we’ve all sweated over the colour of a button before, haven’t we?)
The buck stops with you
Sure, you have to, and should defer to others, but the buck stops with you. Brave decisions are rarely made by committee. Assemble a small stakeholder group. Keep it lean and keep it mean.
There is no room for an opinion for an opinion’s sake. Critical decisions require critical thinking and someone who can hold their hand up to a good, and bad, decision. (Note, if we think you are making a bad decision, we will tell you.)
Remember that common ground we share? Yes, the epiphany at 4 o’clock in the morning. Well there’s something else we have in common: we’re both experts. You are an expert at management consultancy, or baking bread, or building an Insurtech, or working with marginalised communities in Port Harcourt.
But, guess what? We’re experts too. Don’t believe us? Ask our clients. But here’s the thing; we are not experts at baking bread, nor do we have the first idea about working with marginalised communities in Port Harcourt.
This is where our equal footing is a killer combination. We listen to you, and you listen to us. You are an expert at your thing, we are an expert at our thing.
So that, dear founder, is why we love working with you. All our best work has come out of working with you. Working with you to create change across your business. Working with you to pivot your business and take you to the next level. Working with you for the long-term, not just the short-term. Watching our work together perform.
So that, dear founder, is why we get out of bed in the morning.