Many of the business owners I’ve worked with and spoken with over the years have deluded themselves into believing they actually have a business.
True, their business card and tax return might say business owner, but far too often what they’ve created is a job – and is some cases, not a very attractive job.
A business will never truly serve until you view what you are building as an asset. Now, I’m no accountant, but an asset is something that has lasting value – the kind people will pay to acquire. An asset is something that can retain its value even if you move on and pursue other interests, like taking a month to trek across Australia.
A job on the other just stops being a job when you decide to quit doing it.
Building an asset is much harder than building a job. It’s actually not that hard to get people to pay you for doing something they don’t know how to or don’t want to do.
Building an asset takes investing in you, in others, in creating things that didn’t exist before, in following through on audacious ideas. Building an asset almost always means letting go of your current thinking, finding ways to think bigger and surrounding yourself with people that lift you rather than hold you back.
Community as Asset
Brian Clark of Copyblogger realized early on that his path to building an asset was to first build a rabid community of people eager to hear from him. As any Copyblogger reader knows he did this by creating and giving incredible value through educational content.
As the community grew he added more resources and writers to increase the content output. As the community continued to grow he responded to the needs and requests of the community and built product after product that matched the needs of his community.
Today, the Copyblogger community snaps up every new solid offering and has allowed Clark to create a rather profitable asset rather than a job.
Building as Asset
A client of mine, Sam Beckford, runs an incredibly successful group of music and dance studios in British Columbia. Sam was not from the industry so when he and his wife started the business he poured most of his efforts in to building a business that didn’t require him to be there to run it.
He’d also been a successful real estate investor over the years so it was quite natural for him include a building purchase in his plans. As his studio grew and expanded he started getting requests from other studios to teach them his approach.
He turned his method into a coaching program and began to encourage every studio client to buy or build their studio in an effort to guarantee that no matter what happened to the actual business, they would own an asset that allowed them to gain some return on their investment in the building of a business.
Now, of course, most of his coaching clients also happen to run terrifically successful studios, but they also own an asset that will multiply their ability to cash out rather than simply retire.
Work as Asset
I’ve been speaking with lots of sales groups lately due to the upcoming release of my sales oriented book Duct Tape Selling.
One of the things I’ve been imploring sales folks to do is to look at their work in building authority, a content platform and expertise as an asset vs. a chore.
Think about all the people you know that decide to get an MBA or some other type of training to advance their careers. Often they do this a night and around their family’s schedule.
Writing blog posts, learning how to navigate social media, deeply exploring a prospect’s community, providing value through content curation and volunteering to speak at industry events all take time.
Done correctly, however, each will allow you to build an asset that you can use to serve your customer and your company in deeper ways.
And, one of the greatest values of an asset of this nature is that it’s mostly portable. Your reputation, expertise and authority can move with you in the service of even greater opportunities.
Asset mindset is the only way to build a business or career that allows you to live the life you choose more fully.