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Positive Enterprise Value Blog The Best Entrepreneur Owner-Manager Leadership? Build The Enterprise As If You’ll Own It Forever
The Best Entrepreneur Owner-Manager Leadership? Build The Enterprise As If You’ll Own It Forever

The Best Entrepreneur Owner-Manager Leadership? Build The Enterprise As If You’ll Own It Forever

April 22, 2024

2 minute read

Out Islands, Bahamas

Do you ever feel (as I do) that being a high-performing Entrepreneur Owner-Manager (EOM) is actually a “personal journey” barely disguised as a “business activity”?

Has being on that journey allowed you to completely unlock your individual possible potential? Do you fully experience the freedom that is the reason you became an Entrepreneur Owner-Manager? No? Me neither. All of us EOMs have two lives: the one we live, and the longed for, unlived one that is locked up inside of us. How do we unlock those possibilities?

From time to time, we meet Entrepreneur Owner-Managers who are so absorbed in responding to the constant busy-ness of their lives, that they resist thinking about their personal or professional Next Chapter. Or even if there is one. And how increasing Enterprise Value enables the next chapter or just… the possibility of a next chapter, which unlocks our potential and lets us experience our freedom.

Look, you “get” that you don’t have to be interested in “selling your business” to be interested in increasing Enterprise Value, right? Are you mission driven? Do you realize that you enable the mission by increasing Enterprise Value? Want to have a bigger success sharing program with the team? Build Enterprise Value. Want more freedom and rely less on bank borrowing? Build Enterprise Value. Want to have the possibility of choosing the best next new majority investor someday? Build Enterprise Value.

Sadly, sometimes we hear EOMs who have set up an utterly false tradeoff: they think, for example, since they are all about pursuing their mission, they need to do that instead of building Enterprise Value. The reality is all organizations (for profit and not for profit) need to earn an economic surplus to survive and build Enterprise Value for legacy. The best ones? They have their eye on building/optimizing Enterprise Value as the way to achieve their goals and accomplish their mission. Our friends/clients experience proves without a doubt, not optimizing Enterprise Value actually endangers the mission.

The vast, vast majority of our friends/clients are not “Silicon Valley startups to sellout.” Just the opposite. They are EOMs who have discovered their zone of genius, their Unique Ability®*, and are providing a product or service to customers from that zone that is sooooo valuable and appreciated by those customers that the enterprise achieves superior financial performance and takes the steps (all know-able steps by the way) to build Enterprise Value.

Someday, many of us EOMs might like to be set free to move into the next chapter of our lives… maybe even with a capital gain event providing abundant liquidity to fuel our life goals going forward. The way to do that is to optimize Enterprise Value and lead the business as if you will own it forever. Then, if you want to consider the strategic alternatives for a leadership and ownership transition someday, you’ll be positioned to do that. From our way of thinking, you will never “sell the business”—in fact, we’d like you to ban that from your vocabulary. Rather, someday you may want to “acquire the next majority owner,” the one you believe has the best strategic and cultural fit, who values and appreciates the enterprise you’ve worked so hard to build. This is not merely semantics. The words we use matter because they change our mindset.

I have never met a high performing EOM who isn’t an outright genius—with multiple intelligences—working in their Unique Ability®*. To have a sustainably successful mission-driven enterprise, or to have the opportunity to evaluate a capital gain someday, the best Entrepreneur Owner-Managers lead the business and build Enterprise Value as if we will own it forever.


*Unique Ability® is a registered trademark of The Strategic Coach Inc.  All rights reserved.  Used with written permission.

What I am Reading / Listening to

Tetragrammaton with Rick Rubin
By Rick Rubin

Tetragrammaton is my new favorite podcast. Rick Rubin is—without a doubt—the best interviewer I have ever heard.

I have been enjoying hearing my friend Laird Hamilton be interviewed by Rick. They live near each other in Malibu. The “back story” is that Laird taught Rick a lot about breathwork, hot/cold therapy, underwater heavy weightlifting, and other ways that the endlessly creative Laird has discovered how to soup up his workouts and not get bored. Laird and friend Brian McKenzie taught me those disciplines about six or seven years ago, and they have been part of my morning ritual ever since.

This interview strikes me as Laird at his best, having fun with Rick, talking and laughing about the early days of surfing and the introduction by Laird of the Stand Up board, and foiling boards (both of which he worked on for over twenty years). Laird is sui generis, unafraid to be himself, and at 62 years young, willing to authentically talk about scrapes as well as successes.

My guess is if you are an explorer (of inner space and world space) you will enjoy this piece. Made me belly laugh aloud a number of times. Highly recommended.

Entrepreneur Owner-Manager Quote

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."

—Peter Drucker, Austrian American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of modern management theory.

Energy Creation

All high-performing Entrepreneur Owner-Managers are creatives, right?  We create a vision for the future, describe it in a mission and strategy, build a culture around it, create the team to deliver highly valued results to a niche market, and lead the enterprise to high achievement and performance.

Few missions in life require the responsibility of both being in our introverted creative self, and then blossoming into our electric extroverted performer self, to lead.  Over and over.

We EOMs don’t get the luxury of merely being introverted. Hell, for that matter, we don’t get the luxury of just being an extrovert either. There aren’t many other domains I can think of that call on us to reach into ourselves so deeply to live in these two worlds simultaneously for long periods of time—our career, or in some cases a lifetime. Singer-songwriter, maybe? Some authors, perhaps?

We are outliers…in fact we are super-outliers as we think about the behavior required for us to be successful. One role is super-materialistic, the other is almost super spiritual.

Entrepreneurs are creatives

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