What if striving to grow your business is actually taking a toll on your well-being or the health of your company?
In the relentless pursuit of growth, many business leaders find themselves facing the grim reality of exhaustion, unhealthiness, and a sense of “dying” to succeed. The pressure to constantly expand and achieve more can take a toll on both individuals and their businesses, leaving them drained and burnt out.
Taking a step back to evaluate the situation and find harmony between ambition and balance can be the key to sustainable success and your wisest move. Achieving a healthy work-life balance is crucial for long-term success in business.
Leaders must examine their current stage and ensure that everyone is in the right place, making a positive impact on the company’s long-term goals.
Redefine success beyond just profit. Prioritizing people and positive impact can become a true measure of success.
Remember, your business is what you do, not who you are.
Grace and peace,
Chris LoCurto 0:00
As a business leader, how much are you willing to sacrifice so that your business can grow? Is that enough? Maybe even too much. Here are three things leaders need to do to make sure they're not over-investing in their business that is coming up next.
Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks, I hope you're having a fabulous day, wherever you are. Sometimes we think that growth is a must. I've even said it before. If you're not growing, you're dying. Right? And it's true to a certain extent. But let me ask you a qualifying question. What if growing your business is actually killing you or your business in the process? Now, as we get into this episode, I want to kind of talk through I want to give some examples of some things that we have been helping people for a long time. I mean, for decades, I've been helping people to really take a hard look at is what they're doing is worth it. And I will tell you this, as you hear people say, growth, growth, it's such a Must you have to do it, you got to keep growing, you got to keep growing, I'm going to tell you that growth is a must, to an extent, you definitely have to outpace inflation, you've definitely got to outpace your expenses, you definitely have to be putting more money on the bottom line, right at some point some way somehow, right?
If you continue to make the same exact amount of money, but you keep giving team members raises, eventually, you're not going to have any money left. There are things that are absolutely obvious pieces that we need to be looking at. But the part that I'm talking about today is not that it's not growth, because growth is smart. It's not growth, because we have to outpace expense. Right? Those are things that you need to do no matter what, right? The part that I'm talking about, is that you must continue to grow like crazy, as much as you possibly can, because everybody else is doing it, comparing yourself to the businesses that are making more money than you are, but are in a different industry than you are that comparing yourself to somebody who's been doing it 10 years longer than you and definitely should be further out ahead of you than they then you are. But still, you compare yourself to them. This concept that people are telling you that you need to put in multiple locations, and they've never done that themselves. Oh, it's so genius to be listening to a person who's never run a business before telling you how you have to run a business or just the idea that you have, that you need to add locations that you need to work more hours that you need to put more money to the top line and the bottom line. All of these things really, really need to be examined. And I will tell you, I have helped many leaders back off of the ledge or those that have actually jumped off to get them to save ground afterward. By making bad mistakes, because of this ridiculous concept, that growth is an absolute must, you must keep growing, you must keep adding you must keep serving more people more and more and more without counting the cost.
So some examples would be when you have somebody who continues to go after more and more revenue, adding more team members adding more salespeople adding more clients, and yet their net profit decreases. This is a common thing that we see with businesses that are absolutely certain that more money is the smart way to go. That is the growth that they need to get to. I can't tell you how many businesses that I've helped to realize that they actually slowed down and didn't go after as much as they were going after they would actually make more net profit. They would put more money in their bank account. But the concept that everybody out there talks about is but yeah, you need to be growing your top line. Why? If you can actually make more money on the bottom line by not going after more business. Why are you so concerned with the top-line number? Well put that's the one we base so many things on? No. That's the one that people who don't know how to calculate base so many things on that's the one for people who can't do the math, that's the number they base things on. Understand this. If you can be more profitable, with less top-line gross revenues, then you're actually winning more by not putting more money on the top line. Now, all of that to say, it doesn't mean that you can't put more money on the top line and continue to grow your revenues, there's probably some things that are holding you back, there's probably something we find in strat plan all the time, we find that there are things holding companies back, that things that they're not doing correctly, or things that they aren't seeing, or things that they continue to do that is actually causing a negative effect to the business. And, and these are small businesses, small to medium-sized businesses, we only have a handful of large clients that come through Strat Plan, most clients that come through are small to medium sizes, and they discover a lot that helps them to make the right decisions for the growth.
So and one example is don't go ballistic, trying to add money to the top line, especially if doing so is tanking your bottom line. Another example is, and I cannot tell you how many, I know I have many, many people that are listening to this going, Oh, he must be talking about me. It's possible. Because there are a lot of folks that make the same mistake, and they think they're the only ones doing it, you are not the only one making the mistake of opening up another location when you're not ready for it. It happens all the time, all the time, all the time. People hear from a cousin, a friend, or somebody in some business group somewhere, telling them that they need to open up more locations, because the one location that they currently have, is making money. And it's doing well if you just duplicate that process. The problem is, is that you don't know how to duplicate the process. But the bigger issue is you don't realize that you're about to take energy away from the money-making process that you have. This is yet another great thing that we discover and help people with over and over again, to say until you have a place that can completely operate by itself with its own energy.
And you're not going to take that energy away and plug it into another location. Until that time, don't open up another location. So in other words, what most people do is they've got a business that's running well. And then they decided we can do this somewhere else, we can do it down the street, we can do it in the next town, we can do it in another state, whatever. And then they pull a lot of the energy and resources from the current business that's making money and plug it into this new location. And then both places begin to tank, folks, listen to me, that is not going to make you happy. And it's definitely not going to make you wealthy. And it's definitely not going to put all your dreams in place. What it is going to do is stress the living daylights out of you, it is going to stress you out way too much. So those are just some examples of what people do. Because we hear these supposed thought leaders telling us that we have to grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, you have to do doo doo doo doo, keep adding to that top line, without thinking properly. Without understanding properly. I can tell you, you can be incredibly happy. Or if you don't go after a ton of business that's costing you actual money in your pocket. Right?
So things to think about. So I'm not saying you shouldn't work hard. Do not take that if you've been listening to me long enough, you know that I am somebody who says when you are working busted, you should be busting it no matter what we work hard around here. We definitely bust around here. But we also have a lot of fun, right? So I'm not saying you shouldn't bust what I'm saying. Definitely bust it. I'm saying you shouldn't die in the process of trying to grow your business. Don't stress yourself out, don't kill yourself in the process. It's not worth it. I can tell you that it's not worth the stress in your life. It's not worth you missing out on life. How many entrepreneurs are missing out on their families because they keep convincing themselves that they have to have more money and more growth? I'm telling you make a business run really well. Again, that's what we help so many people to do, make your business run incredibly well. And you will be amazed at how the money will show up. Discover the things that are holding you back. And then you will be amazed at how much money shows up. So it's okay to pause and ask yourself how much is too much. What am I sacrificing here? So there are three things I want to hit and the first one of these is Maintaining harmony, right? So equilibrium can be every bit as important to growth and synergy as pressing for something new, something, something bigger, something better, right?
Sometimes the right idea might be to back off a bit, to stop pushing so hard for growth, maybe you need to spend more time nurturing the people, your team, and the processes that are helping your business grow. I've got a fantastic client, that's been, you know, adding people to service more clients, only to discover that the process is making it more difficult because instead of them doing it the way that she does it, how excellent she is that she's actually running into some issues, that they don't care, the same level of excellence, that they don't serve as the clients as well, and that they are wanting tons of money as, as individual team members, they're wanting to get paid incredible amounts of money. As we've talked through this, one of the things I helped her to see is if you didn't add those people, could you make way more money yourself personally, and you continue to service the clients the way you do with excellence? She's like, Yeah, totally great, then you don't have to add more people, especially more expensive people, you know, maybe you can find a way of bringing people in as a training program and adding them in. But to hire people at this level where they're demanding great amounts of money, they don't have the experience you do. They don't treat the client the way that you do. And it's costing you more money to add them. Why do it? If you can make more net profit, and we're not talking about, you know, that adding one person still adds a ton of money to her bottom line? It actually isn't. And it was such a great conversation to say, Hey, listen, what if you don't do that? Would you be more profitable? Yes, great, where would your sanity be much better, I'd be in a much healthier place if I didn't have to worry about people and going behind them because they're not as excellent as me and they're not doing the job that I would do, and have to deal with the clients that you know, are now upset because I put somebody in place that didn't do the job the way that I would do the job, right. So there is great harmony in this as well to be maintained.
So it's like the you know, a car analogy would be taking your foot off the gas pedal so that you can safely negotiate a curve, right, that would be wisdom, then at the right time, you can press on the gas pedal again. So know the season that you're in, find harmony, find synergy working with the season that you're in, if this is not the time to be adding people because they cost so much money, then don't. Right? If right now you can't get quality people at a quality rate, you're making money off of hiring those people and giving them an opportunity. I mean, think about this, every day that they go to work, they don't have the risk of owning the business, they get paid to do the job and they get to go home and not worry about what it takes to own and operate a business. If you're not making money off of that, and giving them that opportunity. Don't hire them, don't put them in place. Instead, ensure that you're keeping quality harmony inside your business. So also understand that if it is a smart move to add people and grow your business, fantastic, go have fun with it. If you can add people and it adds net profit, if you can add people and it doesn't cause you to, you know, feel like you're just adding tons of stress to yourself if it's the smart move because it moves your business in the right direction. It's part of the overall strategic plan. Great, have fun with it, just make sure that it is not aligning with the negative aspects that I've talked about, about not adding net profit not moving in the right direction, making you too stressed out, throwing off other team members, all that kind of fun stuff.
So number two is strategic structuring. So the next thing we have to do is really take a hard look at the season that you're in. And this is one of the most important things and this is somewhere where we really help a lot of small and medium-sized businesses understand where they are and what's holding them back right now. You know, what is what's affecting their growth, what's affecting them from being exactly where they want to do so we have to take a good look at who's doing what and where does it all make sense? Are people in the right place on the bus is the strategic plan is it set up for the long run? Run. So we also have to take a good look at how we are nurturing our client base. Are we serving them? Well, maybe the vendors that we're buying from, maybe some of them need to be shifted around, maybe we need to get rid of some of them. So, you know, for us, we're, we're technically a vendor to all of our clients, right? Our goal is to serve and help as many people as we can, in the best way we possibly can, right? But what if we're not helping somebody? Right? What if we're delivering the service that we claim to provide? Right? Well, then we wouldn't be any help to anybody. It's the same thing with your vendors, that if they are not providing for you, or maybe they're providing, but for the love, they cost so much in there, somebody out there who can do just as good of a job, if not better, for less money, maybe it's time to look around and see, are you spending too much or you losing too much, and race or all of these things are things that we need to take a hard look at. And it also may be okay to take some short-term losses, as long as they get you to long-term success. Right? To get you to that strategic plan, you might have to make some shifts.
So is there somebody on your team that you're paying too much, you know, like I talked about in this last situation, is it possible that you have somebody that is a great person has great talent, has great experience, can do the job, but unfortunately, they cost you too much money. It's not putting money to the bottom line, or it's not putting enough it's causing you too much stress? If so, then maybe they need to go on their own, maybe they need to go work somewhere else, maybe you need to look at bringing in people that can do the job. for less money. Maybe there's somebody out there who has a little bit less experience, but does exactly the same job, you know, maybe somebody's overqualified for the role and you're paying them too much. Who knows? You have to take a look at these things. What about somebody who's on your team? Who's not treating your clients? Well, that's one of the absolute worst things that I hate I can't stand having a team member and I won't have a team member who is thinking more about themselves than they are our client, taking care of the client serving the client knows, obviously, as long as the client's not being a big jerk, you know, so as long as the client is being a great client, serve the daylights out of the client, if you serve the client, it will serve you in the process. What if you have somebody who's not treating the client? Well, well, then you may have to get rid of that team member. Yeah, but they come with so much experience, Chris, you don't understand? No, I do understand. I understand that if a team member who treats clients badly actually cares for more than the clients, then you're going to start losing clients, and then that person won't matter at all. Right.
So make sure if somebody's not taking care of the clients, work hard to get them to take care of the clients, work with them, have some tough conversations, do everything you can but at the end of the day, if they're not going to take care of the clients, they're going to take care of themselves instead. You probably don't need that person on your team. That's a short-term loss that you can deal with because it will actually be better in the long run with that. Let me take a look. Let me take a little side-turn here. There are so many leaders over the years, that I have helped to understand when they've got a team member that they can't seem to let go of because they're so valuable. And they're so afraid that they do so much work. But they're causing all kinds of problems. And there are all kinds of issues every single time, I cannot think of a single time that I have helped a leader, get that person off their team, walk through the whole process, trying to solve this, set them up for success do everything they possibly can to help this team member be successful. And at the end of the day, they just keep choosing not to be I have yet to find a single situation where afterward, it might be a week, two weeks, a month, two months, that that leader comes back and says, Oh my gosh, I didn't realize they actually weren't doing half as much as I thought they were. I didn't realize that they were slacking in a lot of areas, they weren't getting things done. I found a pile full of things that they haven't gotten to yet I found, you know, stuff on their computer or whatever that shows that they were really screwing around whatever it is, every single time in that type of situation. I've seen the leader come back when they thought that they were just going to be so overwhelmed with getting rid of this person that the leader comes back and is actually happier that they did so there's sometimes you're gonna just have to make that decision.
Do everything we teach as far as you know, making sure it's not you making sure that person has everything they need, making sure that you've given plenty of opportunities for them to fix themselves. But at the end of the day, that may be a short-term loss you need to have also a What if someone on your team would be better in a different seat in a different place? Well, that's another thing you're going to have to think through. Is it possible that moving somebody around is actually going to benefit the person, the team, the company, the clients, whatever, take a hard look and see, maybe some people need to be shifted, maybe we've been, you know, not paying attention to this and not thinking about it correctly. But if we put some people in different seats, that might be the best thing that we can do. So Jim Collins, in his book, Good to Great has a concept regarding resources and growth percentages. And what he says is to ask yourself, how much can you grow in a year without negative consequences? So I will say this, this is super, super, super important. There are so many people that do not recognize that growing beyond your capacity in a year is actually going to negatively affect you. What am I saying? Oh, Chris, we're so happy we grew 45% last year. Yeah. How are you doing? Well, we got a whole lot of problems. We've got some issues with some team members, you know, we were falling behind on some projects. Okay. So was 45% worth it? Well, it's so great to see the number 45%. I mean, that's such an amazing number to put on the bottom line. Okay, are on the top line. Okay. But how are you handling all of the growth? Well, that's a completely different story. We are struggling on projects, we have some balls that are getting dropped, we have some clients that are upset, and we have some vendors that aren't able to supply us with stuff in time. So here's the thing I want you to understand. One of the great things I love about Collins is research on now, this is a big industry. But still, the concept fits all businesses.
One of the things I love most about his research back in those days was the companies that knew that they had a minimum amount they must grow because growing less than that was going to hurt them and the maximum amount that they can grow. And growing beyond that is going to tax their capacity. This is a tough thing to get in a business owner's mind a small business a medium-sized business, this is a very difficult thing to get in a business owner's or an leader's mind that you do not want to outgrow your capacity. Now, for example, one of the things that we will do is we will take a look at our capacity in a year's time, we will plan things and ask ourselves, you know, what can we add? Is there stuff that we can add? Is there stuff that we need to take away? We had one year that we had, you know a bunch of stuff going on and team members are like, I think we can add these five new things. Great. Let's sit down, we did a mini strat plan. And let's sit down and take a hard look at what we have available. At the end of the day. When we had all of these ideas, everything was a great idea. And everything was going to serve clients well and everything was going to make money. At the end of the day, the team, not me. The team came back and said there was no possible way we could do more than add this one event over here. And that's going to be a decent size event.
Everything else when they looked at our capacity, our resources, our time with our team members, everything. At the end of the day, when they looked at it, they went to add more than that is going to overtax our team and cause us to fail in other areas. And it's just not worth it. So at the end of the day, we added that event, we did a great event. It was fantastic. We made some money on it. Things were fun. And the team was not overtaxed. I was very proud of my team, that they looked hard at our capacity and said, Nope, can't do it. We don't want to overtax ourselves, we don't want to mess ourselves up. So what am I saying? It would be very smart of you to sit down and ask yourself, what is the capacity for growth that we have? What's the percentage that we feel like we can grow that won't mess things up? We can do this, we can do this. We can do this? You know, on a lot of those big industry businesses. None of them had a growth percentage higher than I believe 20% But I don't think a single one of them had a minimum growth of less than 12.
So they knew they had to at least grow 12% But they knew if they grew 21% It was going to be a problem. So 11% was gonna be a problem. 21% was going to be a problem. The sweet spot was in that 12 to 20% You have to ask yourself the question, how much can you grow in a year without negative consequences? CES. So lose this concept of being so super excited about growing 45% Oh my gosh, it was amazing. It's not amazing. It's not amazing if growing 45% actually costs you in the long run, because you lose clients, and drop the ball on projects. You know, vendors can't deliver team members are stressed out, you're stressed out. It's not worth that 45%. What if 30% was great growth and 35% was great growth? What if even 40% was something you could do, but 45 was too much, then we need to make sure we don't grow that extra 5% Number three, redefining success. Now I will tell you, for many years of my life, profit was one of my top motivating factors.
It hasn't been for decades. Profit is not my number one motivating factor in our company, it's not our number one motivating factor God is serving God is our number one motivating factor. Helping people to change their lives is our number two motivating factor. profit comes in at number three. Now, as I always tell our clients, we will help you make the money you want to make as much as you want to make we'll help you to run successful businesses, and we will help you to know to create the life that you want the business that you want, we're all about that. Just understand for us, money is not our number one thing, I spent too much of my life chasing money. And you know what, at the end of the day, I will tell you, it is not the thing that creates happiness, your relationship with God will will blow anything out of the water. And your ability to help other people before yourself will also blow anything out of the water.
So understand that profit is not the metric by which we define success. Our top priority is God and people. Seeing that, you know God has served in that people's lives are being changed means that we are succeeding, let me say that again. If we are serving God, and people are getting their lives changed, people are choosing to change their lives. Because we've delivered them the information so that they can do so then we're succeeding, that is success to us. Now, obviously, if we keep going into the red, then we're not going to be around long enough to help many people. So it is a priority. It's just not the top priority, right? I'm not going to run a business that's not profitable. That's just a waste of time, I don't feel like God's called me to that either, right, we should have profit, we should be able to put food on the table, we shouldn't be able to, you know, live a good life, a quality life. It's just not the highest focus. If we take care of the other things first, everything else comes after. What's great about this mindset is that it frees us up to think strategically about what success is. So I will tell you, we also don't do debt, haven't done debt in decades. It's not a focus for me, I don't do debt, I don't try and grow my business by going heavily into debt. Instead, we focus on what we can do to help people and God brings all the rest. And we're able to grow the business at a great pace and take care of a lot of folks. So the great thing is I'm not stressed out and emotionally attached to my decision-making because I'm so far in debt. And I've got to service that debt. Does that make sense? Do you hear what I'm saying? I'm free to think strategically about how our business is going to go. Because the business is paid for. Everything we do is paid for it pays for itself.
So we can make all kinds of decisions. Because we're not servicing something that we're emotionally attached to Think of how desperate you have been in times of making decisions because you have to solve a debt payment or because you are not prepared or you're growing too fast, or your resources are getting taxed, or people are getting stressed out and they're leaving your business. None of that. None of that is worth it. That's not fun. That's not enjoyable. And the person who does find that enjoyable needs to come to the next level it needs to see a counselor because it's not fun. It's not fun when everybody's stressed out. So anyways, let me also say that having your priorities right, will help you to mitigate the risks as well. So maybe you look at the risk of losing some income, you know, what does that look like? You know, if we lost some income, does that actually solve things in a better way? You know, we lose some in the short term, but does that make a better long-term decision, you know, versus the risk of losing your Health, your sanity, which it's not worth it? You know, losing your health in this process is not worth the money. You know, the old saying where you spend your health, trying to gain wealth and then you spend your wealth trying to gain health. Right? It's just not worth it. Saying no can be as important as saying, yes. Is any of this saying that you shouldn't go bust it? No. Is any of the saying that it's not okay to go and build a big business? No, none of this is, every bit of this is speaking to balance and making the right decisions. There are times I don't mind decreasing profit if it means also reducing the stress that is bigger than the struggles of the profit that I'm having. But I don't want to decrease profit or productivity, while incurring more stress. It's a balance, right? Don't go after a profit and increase your stress. But at the same time, I'm not going to decrease my profit if I don't have stress, if I can continue to grow and continue to put numbers up and help people and, you know, serve God and all of that fabulous then I want to keep going. But if it's going to start taxing my health, nope, my sanity? Nope, my family? Nope, I can tell you, it's not worth it. It is just not worth it. That's not a good trade-off. To find balance, we have to consider the consequences. Or as my daughter says, the consequences. Your longevity in business is a key factor to your ultimately winning in business. This is a marathon, not a get-rich-quick scheme. And hopefully, you know that by now.
So here's my question to you, are you finding a balance between work and life? If you believe that business is what you do, not who you are, then you might be able to do it. If you believe that you are your business, if your identity is tied up in it, if it owns you, then you will likely not find a healthy balance. Now I want to give you an example of the Blue Zone communities maybe you've heard about the Blue Zones, maybe you've not Blue Zones are areas of the world where people live, the longest lives consistently reaching 100 years old, they have more centenarians than any other place on the planet. In contrast, the average life expectancy in the US is currently 77 years, according to the CDC know what you can trust from the CDC in I can't doubt I'm going to leave that up to you. However, we do see that we don't have more centenarians in the US except for one spot, which happens to be a blue zone. We have one spot in the US. That is a blue zone. We have one in Sardinia, Italy. We have one in Greece. Oh goodness, I'm forgetting all the spots, okay, now.
Man, I can't remember where else. I think there's like six total Blue Zones. And these are folks that have the right priorities in life. They all work. They bust their butt. Well, you know, once they get way up there and age, some of the areas don't work but like the Sardinians they are working. A lot of them are farmers. They walk six miles a day at 100 years old. They drink a specific or nosh wine they have fun with they have lots of community with people. And the amazing thing is that they get up over 100 years old, they're still doing all of this stuff. And then when they go, they go fast. They don't spend years dying from cancer. They don't spend, you know, years dying from dementia or other issues. They go and it's fast and they've lived a great life. But they have balance. They do their work. They enjoy their community. They eat well, and they celebrate. It's amazing the things that these blue zones have in common. And when you compare it to the average business owner or leader what we see is in the US that the concept for the business owner and leader is more more more more, more, more, more, more more. Go go go go go go, go, go go. You're not doing enough. You're not doing enough. You're not doing enough. You're not making enough money. You're not putting up enough numbers. You need to compare yourself to everybody around you. And then we live stressed-out lives and we get to 50 or 60 or 70 years old going What the heck happened? Why Are we doing this?
So listen to me, if you're struggling with any of what we're talking about if your life feels out of balance, then get yourself in here for next level life event. You can check that out at ChrisLoCurto.com/next level life. Your next level life event is an intense two day workshop that's all about you, one on one. It's helping you to find the life and business that you really want. It's taking your life to the next level, go to ChrisLoCurto.com/next level life. So here's the deal. Don't let growing your business result in an early death for you or your team. And I mean that that may sound heavy. But seriously, folks,
it is not worth it. Right? Do the three things we talked about maintain healthy harmony? Make sure you're strategically structured. And take a hard look at how you you measure success. At the end of the day, ask yourself this question or ask your spouse do they see success the same way that you do to your spouse is a success, a lot more money a lot more stress a lot less time together. If so, then we probably need some good marriage counseling. Your spouse needs to get a Next-Level Life as well. So Well, folks, that's all the time that we have for today. I really hope this has helped you out. I really hope you take this on and start thinking about what does success look like for you? What do you want your business life to look like your work-life balance? As always, take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.