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Business Should Be Fun to Run
July 6, 2011
By Howard Mann

Business is supposed to be fun to run. It felt that way when you got started, right? But somewhere along the way, stress and complexity buried all the fun. Getting through the day became the focus instead of realizing your business’s true potential.

If you are nodding your head in recognition, this book is for you. You know everything in it already, but, as one of my favorite sayings goes, it has become “hard to read the label from inside the bottle.” This book contains sparks to remind you of the power of simpler times, the power of getting the basics of business perfect. Whenever things feel like they are getting away from you, whenever your business does not feel fun to run, the Business Brickyard will help you reconnect with your goals and passion while remind- ing you that the basics will support you always.

I stumbled into the Business Brickyard when I was thirty-three years old—although I wish I had remembered it much sooner. I had recently sold the freight and logistics company I’d been running for six years (and working in for more than twelve); a big milestone in the life of a young business owner. But I felt as wrung out as if I’d narrowly survived drowning and only at the last minute managed to suck in a lungful of air.

What had started as a passion became a private hell. The years that led up to selling the company were a whirlwind of massive turnaround work and a daily knock-down drag-out fight for survival. I had bank pressure, staff problems, and poor-paying clients. Being caught in the middle of a never-ending “us too” spiral of matching services with competitors who had significantly more money than us sent us on that slippery slope of doing more for less. We had to scrape to pay the bills while trying to find the space (and time) to re-invent the company so it could live up to its promise of being “fun to run.”

I dreaded going to work each day. The weekends offered little comfort as they were just a time out when I couldn’t be in the battle. It was lonely, scary, all-consuming, frustrating and not what most people equate with business ownership—what, as I later found out, many, many others experience. When it was over, I realized how many years had passed by me. I owned part of a truly great company—a company filled with amazing people that served some terrific clients. But I didn’t enjoy the ride or have time to enjoy what made my company great.

Too many business owners are going through what I went through. Running a business has become too lonely a path. The more complex a business grows, the more a lack of having a rock-solid foundation will compound problems and divert attention to the wrong things. Scores of business owners wake up at (the proverbial) 2:00 AM agonizing over why they lost an account to the low- cost corporate behemoth, why their latest marketing blast isn’t making the phones ring of the hook, or they just have that nagging feeling that a lot more needs to get done. (For me, it was always the drive home that had me thinking of all the things that were not happening fast enough.) Everyone wants to figure out the “secret sauce” that will instantly propel his or her business to that elusive “next level.” What they really need to do is go back to their Business Brickyard.

The above is the introduction to my book: Your Business Brickyard – Getting back to basics to make your business more fun to run. I wrote it over 9 years ago and happen to sit down and read it again the other day. It is more relevant to the business owners I know and work with than ever. If you would like a free PDF of the entire book you just need to join my mailing list. No strings and just the occasional email note when I have something I think is worthy of sharing (The mailing list sign-up is at the bottom of every page of my web site). 

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