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“Why Stepping Back from My Business Allowed It To Thrive”
The journey of business ownership is not a smooth or easy one. It is both an art and science to achieve the balance of dedicating the time and resources in order for it to flourish and grow and allowing you, as the business owner, to achieve the freedom and personal fulfillment that likely motivated you to start this journey in the first place. In this article, we would like to share a piece that one of our franchisees, Dr. Alissa Gardenhire from South Orange, NJ, wrote in reflection of her journey of entrepreneurship.
We just celebrated our 5th anniversary with our South Orange center last month, but 6 months prior to that I was seriously considering closing shop. We have from the beginning done “well enough” but only periodically have we done “well.” Although we all have different reasons for opening and running our Best in Class centers, it is not a hobby, or at least it shouldn’t be.
From time to time over the past 5 years, I treated it more like a passion project than a business, and it is not. As much as I am passionate about the learning of every child who comes through our doors, the bottom line is…the bottom line…in order to keep those very doors open.
Like you, I did whatever I needed to do to keep us open from March 2020 to late 2021 when things started to open back up, where I am in New Jersey. I jumped in. I taught the bulk of our classes for a while. I was in every Zoom and was the first one back in person for the first year, before I allowed my staff back into the center. I did all that and ran the back end, brought in new business, counseled parents, encouraged kids, was active in promoting us in the community, and all that.
By 2022, in reflection, I was probably burnt out. Best in Class Education Center in South Orange was feeling like a burden on top of parenting and caregiving, property ownership, householding and housekeeping, managing a long-distance relationship, self-care (what is that?), and so on. My center was only doing “well enough.” So what in the world was I doing?
I communicated my perspective to corporate and talked to Hao [Best in Class’ CEO] seriously about how I was feeling personally and in the business. I said that if we didn’t hit milestone X by date Y, I would be closing. At that time, I also decided to let the business do whatever it needed to do, that I would be focusing on developing my next chapter, with or without it.
I had a great staff I could trust, so I let them do more. I hired a VA (virtual assistant). She follows up with all of my prospects, sending emails, texts, or calling to schedule assessments. Then I close with them. The VA costs me money, but she also makes money for me by bringing in more business. I started going into the center only to bring in new business and check in with staff. I offloaded work that I didn’t enjoy to my assistant manager and my VA, and hired more TAs to enable us to have larger classes. Now my in-person classes can go up to 9 if needed.
I focused on creating what I wanted, and have from that experience created a new company, but the gratifying thing for me was that the center is doing better than ever since I backed off and let it do what it does. Most important as a woman who owns a business, the psychic relief is most important for me. It gave me mental freedom to allow my center to grow and allowed me to do other things.
I hope there was something here for you.