Eric was a surgeon with a thriving medical practice. His patients loved his calm and quietly confident manner in all their interactions. He was technically at the top of his profession. His surgery calendar was booked solid. So why then did he reach out to our business coaching company to get help?

Because Eric felt stuck–unclear how to grow his practice and wean it off of its crippling dependency on him and his wife Tina to keep it running smoothly.

They had young twin boys, and older daughters too, and the practice just demanded so much of their time and attention. And the stress was impacting Tina’s health too.

They knew there must be a better way to run and grow their business, but they just didn’t know how. The average business owner stops at this point. He or she fears that the only way to grow is to give up more of their life. To work harder; produce more; turn up the treadmill even faster.

The thing is, working harder, longer is not only a limited road, it isn’t a sustainable one. The more your business counts on you to produce to keep it running, the more reliant it becomes on your daily presence.

Instead, what we showed Eric and Tina was how to work less, by getting the business to produce more. This meant maturing their staff, implementing systems, and focusing their company’s resources of time, attention and money on those fewer things that yielded a better return. Essentially this formula for growing a business the right way says scaling your business doesn’t require you to do more of what you know, instead it requires that you stretch to do less, but make sure that the “less” that you and your staff do matter more, both for the short term success of the business and for the longer term development of the business as a business.

This was the starting point for Eric and Tina, and they actively implemented what they learned. Two years later they had grown their revenues from $3 million/year to over $4.6 million per year. During that same time, Tina worked herself completely free of the practice, and Eric, he reduced his working hours by 20 hours a week.

The reason I share their story with you is because they are likely a lot like you. You’re driven to succeed but feel stuck as to the best way forward. You carry the weight of your business on your shoulders without complaint and are the linchpin that holds everything together.

You work hard to grow your business, what you may not have realized is that one of the most powerful chains holding you back from succeeding on the scale you want is the way you’ve designed your business in the first place. Your business’s heavy reliance on you, which may have been necessary when you first launched your business, has become a major weakness.

And still I know there are going to be some business owners who say, “David, I hear what you’re saying and agree, I should build a business, not a job, but my business is different. If you knew my business… my industry… then you’d see that it just isn’t possible to build my company to not need me. It’s special.”

What these unfortunate business owners never realize is that by asserting their business’s specialness, they’ve locked themselves into being involved in every detail of that business. Their belief that their business can’t be weaned off its reliance on them since it is so specialized, complicated, or unique is one of the most expensive limiting beliefs they could ever own. It literally costs them millions of dollars of lost growth.

What’s more, it also costs them their freedom as they become trapped in the very business they once launched to help them become free.

You can and should work to not just grow your company, but most important of all, to do it in a way that consistently reduces its reliance on you or any other one key individual staff member.

In fact, I strongly encourage you to make the concrete decision that one of the stated goals of your business is to build it to be sustainable independent of you.

This is good for your employees (i.e. gives them more opportunity, greater stability, and room to grow); this is good for your customers; this is good for your suppliers and vendors; this is good for your investors.

If you would like to get more detailed steps to wean your business off of its dependency on you, then I encourage you to join me for a special webinar training I’m doing that’s coming up very soon.

Remember, the starting point for building a different and better business is a decision you make to intentionally grow it in a smarter manner.