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Here’s to the business owners who aren’t founders

We celebrate the start-ups that grow their businesses to great success, and we recognise the visionary business owners who inspire us with their dream and do things differently.

But what about the business owners who did not start the business and are running with a vision set by someone else? I’m talking about the franchise owners and those brought in to run a start up or SME that has already had the hard yards put in to get it off the ground. Are they less deserving?

Starting a business is seriously tough. Most fail. You need to think of everything, and most of that time is spent before you can start to make any money. It is a massive learning curve and it takes guts. Even the smartest founders with the best plans know that there is an element of risk involved in a starting a new business.

So when someone starts a business and it does well, does it deserve praise and recognition? Absolutely!

The unsung heroes

But just as making a start-up successful requires incredible skill, tenacity, guts and hard work, so does keeping the business successful and growing it. Enter our other heroes: business owners who take an existing business to a new level of growth and progress.

Sure a franchise owner or owner of an existing business does not need to go through the tough start-up phase (a phase that only business founders will ever appreciate the intensity of). But they do need to be able to work with what someone else has created. They don’t have the luxury of championing their own vision for the business, creating the reputation that they want the business to have, or designing the fundamentals of what make the business what it is. Sure they can influence these and change them over time. But they need to do it in a way that stays true to the core of the business that was created by the founder.

In many ways this is a blessing, but it is no small feat to take an established business and build on the vision that someone else developed. The business owners who do this well should be celebrated too.

A fresh approach

They might move a business away from doing things the way they have always been done. Being new to the business gives them fresh eyes to see the potential for growth that perhaps the original business owner or franchisor could not (as we know, it’s difficult to work on your business when you are in your business). They bring a revived energy, different personality and perspective, and new considerations, because they inject a dose of themselves into the business.

If you are a business owner who has walked into a business that is already established and have taken it further than it would have gone before you took the reigns – well done! Or you are a franchise owner who saw the value in buying into a proven formula and have added your own ideas and vigour to grow the business – I take my hat off to you!

Treat your business as a new business

And if you are the founder of your own business, you would do well to look at the example of those successful business owners who are not founders. Step into their shoes for a moment and consider how they might take your business to the next level if they were in charge. Here are some considerations:

  • Create partnerships that will benefit both businesses – look at a joint venture with a business that can complement your offering
  • Should you consider a rebrand or a refinement of your messaging and offering?
  • Is your business ready to expand?
  • Consider a review of your target customers – can this be refined or can you include additional targets?
  • Look at what you currently offer – is there potential for upselling or perhaps you could consider an expansion of the current service?
  • Build your profile on social media – determine your key messages and build on what has been previously done by integrating your own vision and personality.
  • Develop and implement a local area marketing plan – consider building your business locally with your own identity as the face of the business, this should include networking events and Chamber membership as an example.
  • Introduce training programs to build confidence and get the best performance from your employees.
  • Get the right people involved – either employ the right people or engage consultants to undertake tasks that you are not confident in or have limited understanding of.
  • See your business through the eyes of your customers.
  • Think about taking on a business coach to help you to develop and implement your goals within a set timeframe rather than parking ideas for now.

Understand that any business can benefit from renewed vision, perspective and a revived personality. So when it comes to owning an existing business or taking on a franchise, I say go for it. And if you are the founder of your business, it’s time to treat it as a new business to see your business level up!

About Belinda Bow

Belinda Bow is the founder of Green Chilli Marketing and recently launched the Green Chilli Marketing Franchise opportunity for talented marketers to have a successful career and work life that fits in with their lifestyle. Belinda is a Certified Practicing Marketer and an Associate Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute.

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Belinda Bow

Belinda Bow

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