It may sound crazy, but I run five separate businesses, all at the same time. I have a leather goods manufacturing business, a consulting group, a membership organization, my public speaking business and an augmented reality tech firm. Sometimes I tell people I’ve figured out a way to work 27 hours a day.
Seriously, though, if you set your companies up properly and build your empire the right way, you can actually run several companies with the same investment of time and energy you’d spend on just one. Here’s how you can do it.
1. Recruit fabulous #2s.
The face of a business is important. Because I’m a public speaker, my name matters in my companies, but I can’t do everything myself. In fact, the #2 spot is often where the real day-to-day, nose-to-the-grindstone work gets done. Focus on finding a strong, independent second in command—preferably someone with strengths that complement yours—to be a co-leader for each of your companies. That infrastructure and the ability for your company to thrive without your constant attention may be key to keeping multiple businesses running concurrently.
2. Transfer your knowledge from one business to the next.
Granted, each of your companies can present a unique set of challenges, but when you build solid corporate infrastructure, there’s much that may be portable—sort of a plug-and-play model. If you use your unique strengths to solve problems, you can look for opportunities to duplicate those successes in other industries. A note: Focus on systematization may be critical here—simplifying and automating processes may be another key component in your ability to efficiently operate more than one company.
3. Make connections among your companies.
Here’s the secret sauce: When you get all your companies working together, they may begin to sustain one another. Clients of one business might provide services to members of another company. You may provide spectacular service and opportunities for your clients to develop their own businesses as well.
4. Think big.
I’m not advising you to overextend yourself, and in fact the most sustainable growth may be achieved by the combination of organically building your empire and realizing great opportunities when they present themselves. You may even face a failure from time to time. I sure did, but the lessons I’ve learned make me a much more successful entrepreneur. But it’s important not to limit yourself. Don’t hesitate to look for expansion opportunities internationally. Don’t stop yourself from succeeding by being afraid to look to the niches, the margins and the horizon for rising trends.
Start with what you know, leverage your strengths, hire great people and make your companies work together to form a self-sustaining network. That may be the secret to finding success across multiple ventures.