I think every business owner has come to a point in their business career when they say to themselves, “Sometimes I think it would be much easier to just go get another job!”

Well, if you haven’t, I can assure you I’ve found myself in that position many times, but thankfully it was only a passing thought similar to a gas pain. 🙂

I had a conversation with a business owner a couple weeks ago who was faced with an opportunity to take on a full-time position. He was struggling with the decision to shut down his company and move into the land of employment.

As he explained the opportunity to me, I quickly understood the challenge he was facing.

He’s amazing at what he does and almost every client he’s worked for gives a glowing review of the value they’ve received throughout their business relationship.

His business is doing extremely well and there are no pressing financial disasters or lack of work that would be pushing him in the direction of leaving the world of an entrepreneur.

On the surface you might be thinking, “Well if things are going well, his customers are raving about him, and there is plenty of work to be done…why the heck would he want to work for someone else?”

I was thinking the exact same thing until we started to explore the benefits his business could potentially receive from the experience and connections he’d gain by pursuing the opportunity. The beauty of the offer was that he could accept it, and it would be perfectly reasonable for him to stay for as little as three to four years. He could then go back to building his company. If he leveraged the relationships he created during his tenure, his business would likely explode when he jumped back in.

He saw the true benefit of taking the position, but he wasn’t sure he was willing to put his business “on hold” for nearly four years, since he felt things were going well.

The problem began to come into focus very clearly to me as we talked…

He didn’t really have a business, he was a service provider!

Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a service provider, but it isn’t the same thing as being an entrepreneur.

The definition of an entrepreneur is:

A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

Although that’s the definition listed in Dictionary.com, to me, the way to tell if you have a true business or not is to answer one simple question…

Can your “business” go on if you aren’t present or working within it?

In my opinion, if the answer to this question is “NO,” then I believe you may simply be a service provider – or at least you haven’t yet taken the full responsibilities of an entrepreneur and developed a true company.

The most successful entrepreneurs take the time to think through the mindset of their buyers. They develop processes to ensure they deliver what these buyers are desperately seeking, and most importantly, they develop a mission and effectively communicate that mission to their staff (no matter how few they have), so that mission becomes a part of their company DNA.

If you’ve done this correctly, you can have a business that grows and thrives whether you are there or not. This will then free you up to scratch that entrepreneurial itch the next time you have a great idea for a new business. 🙂

Leave a comment below if you’ve ever found yourself dealing with a similar decision, or if you have some words of advice for those who are in that situation currently.