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THE INVISIBLE ENTREPRENEUR

FOREWORD

Are you currently running a successful business? More importantly, is your business a thriving, profitable venture and can it run without you? In fact, are you an Invisible Entrepreneur?

If you’ve picked up this book then who you are is someone who already runs abusiness or perhaps someone who is considering starting your own entrepreneurial enterprise. And chances are you probably think it would be pretty hard to step away from your business.

However, it is absolutely possible to transform a small to medium-sized business into a lucrative organization - without being dependent on the owner for day to day input. In short, it is possible to become an Invisible Entrepreneur, regardless of what kind of business you run.

Consider that your business is a financial asset and this book - The Invisible Entrepreneur - is about capitalising and honouring that asset. It’s also about how you can set up a blueprint to increase the dollar value of your business well beyond the current expectations.

Whilst the purpose of this book is to provide you with the tools to transform your business and allow you the opportunity to take three months off, it is also a book which can be used as a precursor to:

  • Growing the profitability of your business without depending on you
  • A well-planned succession strategy or hand over to the next generation
  • Selling your business at a premium price whilst ensuring that the buyer and seller get value
  • Attracting quality investors

The Invisible Entrepreneur is a natural follow up to our first book ‘How to Grow Your Business by Taking 3 Months Off’. Our belief has always been that taking three months off was never the ultimate goal, simply a stepping stone for other opportunities. And, whilst your ultimate goal may encompass any number of possibilities, if you are tired of the day to day and your passion has dwindled as a result of running the business, then it can lead to a downhill spiral. And that’s exactlywhere we were when we decided to set the goal to take three months off from our own business.

Taking three months off not only saved our business, but gave us a new lease on life and transformed the way we work. Most importantly, it saved our marriage.

After working together and sharing our lives for just over a decade, we were tired. We were both running on empty, working long hours, and constantly thinking about how to improve our business, let alone help our clients.

We were on the proverbial treadmill and it was one that we had built ourselves. Custom-made with speed settings we controlled - but we never thought to press the ‘stop’ button.

Maybe you can understand this feeling. You’ve created a business; you’ve developed some good systems. Perhaps you’ve grown it to a point where you have a team you can delegate to. But it’s still not something you’d feel comfortable walking away from and leaving in the hands of someone else.

Sure, you could take a short holiday. You might even take a month off. As long as you check in with the office every few days and keep your Blackberry with you in case anyone needs some urgent answers. Or, if an important client only wants to talk to ‘the boss’.

That’s not what we’re talking about. As The Invisible Entrepreneur, we want you to have the choice of whether or not you walk away from your business altogether. You can take three months off – or much longer. And you can have no contact with your business whatsoever if that’s what you decide. We want to help you create a business that’s running so smoothly – with the right people – so you simply don’t need to be there.

Sound like a dream? For many business owners, it’s an impossible fantasy. We’ve heard it all. “But my business just needs me – I’m the only one with the expertise.” “You don’t understand – my business is different.” “My customers just wouldn’t put up with it – they’ll go to my competitor.

”You can think up any excuse you want to stop yourself from becoming an Invisible Entrepreneur. But then the reality is that you’ll just stay on the treadmill. And guess what? When you stay on that treadmill, you don’t change direction. You pound relentlessly along the same path and don’t have a chance to embrace new ideas and new ways of thinking.

And that’s what we are passionate about – a new way of transforming your business that starts with making you become invisible. It’s a journey that will not only give you a well deserved break, it will make your business more valuable, boost your bottom line and help mould your business into one that you’re truly excited about.

We’re thrilled you’ve decided to take this journey with us – because it’s going to renew your passion for business and we know you’ll soon see it metamorphose into a more dynamic, more profitable enterprise. And, this is exactly the foundation you need to have for your business to operate profitably without you. For far more than three months. A year perhaps, or even longer.

This is a journey we have personally achieved – yes, we took three months off fromour business. And since then, we’ve helped many other entrepreneurs get off thetreadmill and turn their businesses into amazing success stories using this program.

So who are we? And why do we want to take you on this journey? Let us introduce ourselves – we’re Louise Woodbury and William de Ora. And we want to welcome you to your new adventure.

As you’ve probably gathered by now, we’re married. We’re also business partners. Since the start of our business, Quantum Dynamics, more than 14 years ago, we’ve helped thousands of business owners to become extraordinary leaders. We have got their businesses operating more efficiently. We’ve trained them to have mastery in sales and marketing. We’ve recruited the right team. And, in some cases, we’ve grown their businesses and assisted with the sale – then helped them start up the next enterprise.

We’ve both have a heartfelt energy for helping small to medium sized businesses. It’s because we think that small businesses can make a huge impact – on customers, on innovation, on people and, in some cases, on the world. And, we’ve seen it.

William’s expertise is in sales, marketing and advertising. During his career, he’s worked with some of the world’s largest advertising agencies. He has an ability to get into the minds of customers and then helps business owners to determine the key messages that are going to be most effective in attracting and keeping those customers.

Louise’s forte is her uncanny ability to work with people – identifying blocks, fears and what inspires and motivates them to pursue their passions. She is also known for bringing order, structure and disciplines within businesses. Louise can walk into a business and start its transformation quickly by identifying what’s working and what’s not and then embarks on supporting business owners to implement any changes - sometimes immediately.

Together, we have worked with businesses ranging from one-person startups to those that have grown into multi-million dollar enterprises. We love the fact that small businesses have the flexibility to change. When you run a small business, you are not tied down by a clunky corporate structure. In most cases, you don’t have to wait for your fabulous idea to be approved by a board of directors. You’re in the driver’s seat.

You can make things happen. And, for us, that’s very exciting.

But we also know that your small business – your baby, your dream – can sometimes turn into an albatross. What was supposed to be a great idea – a business that would enable you to combine your skills or interests with a chance to earn an income, can end up being a burden. Many small business owners feel trapped. What’s worse, they feel trapped by the very systems they created in order to “free” themselves from the business.

Don’t get us wrong. We think systems are very important. In fact, they’re essential for any successful business. But in our work with thousands of business owners over the years, we’ve recognised that truly transformative businesses need to address a much bigger issue.

And that’s you - the business owner.

It’s you: the entrepreneur – the way you think and the way you approach business – that will undergo the biggest transformation. After working with so many business owners, we know that you can attract a dynamic team around you, design and implement the best systems in the world. And, while that’s great, it’s not enough. If you really want to transform your business, you have to be ready to transform yourself.

That might sound scary to some people. You’re happy in your comfort zone. You don’t want to change. You know that you work long hours and can feel like you’re sometimes in a rut – but the money is regular and you have a fairly stable business, so that’s not too bad. You don’t need to upset the apple cart. In fact, you just don’t have time for it.

But seriously, what’s the worse thing that could happen? Let’s see … you could create a more profitable business where you have the option to work fewer hours or not at all, your customers are happier and your business is worth more.

When you transform your business, and allow yourself to become The Invisible Entrepreneur, you create a business where you have choice. And it’s when you have choice that you are truly “free”.

You will create a business where you have the option to:

  • Be in the drivers’ seat and be involved in its day to day management if that’s what you’re passionate about.
  • Take three months off (or more), allowing yourself to recharge and simply have a break while the right person runs the business when you’re away.
  • Create a turnkey business you can walk away from altogether, while it continues to generate income for you. This leaves you free to pursue new interests or opportunities.
  • Sell your business at a much higher value than what it would be worth before undergoing the Take 3 Months approach. This gives you the chance to relax. Or, for serial entrepreneurs, a chance to start a new business!
  • Combine any of the above options to design an extraordinary business and lifestyle you really want.

If you want to stay in your current situation, that’s ok. Stop reading this book now. If you want to be tied to your business without the option to become invisible, that’s fine. We understand that you’re not ready. If you don’t want to add value to your business, no problem. Thanks for sticking with us this far.

But if you’re ready for a transformational journey – for your business and yourself – we’re going to help you make it happen. Get ready though, things are about to get very exciting. You’ll be asking yourself some tough questions and we’ll be challenging some long-held beliefs.

We’re committed to this process because we’ve seen it work again and again. Helping other business owners on this journey is an exhilarating process for us. In consulting with business owners, we can always see the extent of their potential – even when they can’t. And we work with them until they recognise how great they can be.

Are you ready? Then let’s get started.

Read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of The Invisible Entrepreneur.

Learn more about the The Invisible Partnership and The Invisible Branson books.

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