Does Your Business Own You?

I’ve survived the Great Blizzard of 2011 in Chicago. Fortunately, I have the money to hire a fellow with a pickup and a plow to clean my driveway. For me, the storm was an event to celebrate, not fear, but I will still have to work around the aftermath for a few days.

Over the last weekend, my wife and I visited friends in Austin, Texas, who have a different approach to Chicago winters–they avoid them. Ricky and Debbie have a home and business in Chicago but also spend lot of their time in Austin. They bought a home there, enjoy the music scene, love the winter temperatures and enjoy the new friends they’ve made there over the years.

Ricky runs his industrial distribution business successfully while he’s away from Chicago. He has a camera matched to his computer in his home office in Texas and his business office in Chicago. People can see him at his desk, and he can see them at work and talk to them. Ricky has managers and sales people who report to him regularly. He will travel to visit key customers or go to meetings that are crucial for the company. He is fully engaged in the company, but not engaged in blizzards.

Ricky is a very smart and organized CEO-owner. To my surprise, and possibly his, too, he is able to successfully run the business without freezing in Chicago in January.

It is the rare small and medium-sized business operator who owns a business rather than has the business own him. Technology may be making it easier to pull off today. Do you think so?

Question: Do you feel like you own your business or that your business owns you?

A dedicated employee stands in the blowing snow. Elgin Ill. Feb. 1, 2011 <em>Chicago Tribune</em>

A dedicated employee stands in the blowing snow. Elgin Ill. Feb. 1, 2011 Chicago Tribune

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