Business success is typically measured in terms we understand, "PROFIT" and sometimes it's measured in new terms, that of RACING!RAY RUSSELL, President, RoPro Design, Inc.
I met Mr. Ray Russell, President of RoPro Design, Inc. for the first time in October 2007. At the time Ray shared with me his love of engineering, designing robots, building robots and competitive bicycle racing. As a matter of fact, his love and passion for bike racing was the reason why he started his own firm in the first place. He could train during the day and work in the evening. This was a perfect combination to keep his competitive spirit alive and him in the physical shape to race at the top level in his age class.
However, Ray also shared with me that when he hired his first employee, things began to change. Why? Because he had to work the same hours as his employees! And, as the business grew and became more successful, more employees were hired, more work was added and his reason for starting the firm, his dream and what he personally wanted to achieve by starting the firm, to train and race, that dream began to die.
Below are some excerpts of a letter Ray wrote to me in October 2007:
"We (RoPro Design) are basically a design / fabrication company that specializes in robotic prototypes (for major universities) and other local robotic start-up firms.
I would like to talk about is my own role within RoPro. I have a clear understanding of both my strengths and weaknesses and know that I need specific help with my weaknesses in order to grow. In short, I'm an engineer - I like being an engineer - I'm good at being an engineer. I really enjoy a good engineering challenge. I enjoy meeting with customers - traveling to their locations and helping them bring to life whatever robotic creation they have in mind. So the engineering, design and customer interaction side of the business is solid.
I've been told, (by others), that the answer is to relinquish my engineering duties and hire an engineer. This would free me up to be the CEO I should be.
Unfortunately all the things I really like about the business are on the engineering side - and all the things I really detest about the business are on the management side. I know most business owners ultimately do this but in my particular situation I don't see that as being an option.
The areas where I struggle are the day-to-day non-engineering aspects of running the business. I have hired a new bookkeeper who already has taken a large burden from me but I'm still stuck with reviewing contracts, writing proposals, managing the daily task list of others, and answering the cell phone which rings non-stop.
The obvious course then seems to be to hire a CEO and get on with it. I'm all for this except for the fact that a CEO would be an immediate huge expensive overhead hit to the company. We simply aren't big enough yet to handle that sort of indirect cost. Which puts us in a chicken-egg sort of thing. Can't grow w/o a CEO - aren't big enough to afford a CEO. We make a good living - the bills get paid - but ultimately nothing changes. I think that needs to change or we are going to stagnate and die."
RoPro Design began working with ThistleSea Business Development in late 2007 and remains an exceptional client today. With our help, Ray designed a strategic business action plan and has consistently worked on his action plan. By applying best business practices, Ray has not only continued to achieve success at RoPro Design, Inc. but also on the RACING CIRCUIT.
This month Ray wrote me the following on July 13th: "John, since our company measures its success in bike racing terms rather than profit/loss - we had a very successful weekend."
I rode in the Tour of the Valley stage race in Ohio. 4 races over 4 days. I was in 3rd place in the overall points going into the road race on Saturday. Won the race and took over the yellow jersey. Went to Youngstown, OH yesterday morning and raced the final criterium. In the sprint for the finish, a rider went down in the front of me. I managed to miss him but ended up 7th across the line. When they announced the final results, I had won the overall championship by 1 slim point. $225 into the racing account. Sweet.... Also got to kiss the pretty trophy girl...also sweet."
While Ray, after the kiss, works to restore his relationship with his wife! (Actually, his wife took the picture). His success in both RACING and his business is a testament to the power of coaching in sports as well as business. He loves his firm, his profession, his business and RACING. Oh, don't forget his wife.
That's true success and what ThistleSea's Business Coaching is all about; the Abundance in the life of the business owner.
By: John D. Laslavic LPBC, Predisent, ThistleSea Business Development, LLC
Learn more about RoPro Design, Inc. at www.roprodesign.com. © 2009, ThistleSea Business Development, All Rights Reserved