Financial Strategy

Elephant Control

In H.M. Williams book about growing a business, entitled Proper Coffee & Other Ways to Grow Your Business, he looks at the parallels between owning a business and owning an elephant. It might sound bizarre, but here’s a summary for you to ponder.

Phase 1

You buy a baby elephant. You are bigger than it is, can see a great future with it and foresee no problems. You don’t have any skills in managing elephants, but it’s a beautiful creature, you have a plan and you are excited, so off you go.

Phase 2

The elephant soon grows much bigger than you. You are no longer strong enough to control it and it takes over your whole life. It pulls you along, wreaking destruction in its wake. It stands in your way blocking your whole vision, you can neither see nor know where you are going.

You are so preoccupied by being dragged along by it that you are overwhelmed but you just can’t let go. It is ruining you and your quality of life. Does this sound familiar?

Phase 3

You accept that you need help and decide to take advice on how to become an awesome elephant handler (mahout).  Congratulations, many owners don’t like to admit that they don’t have the skills, are overwhelmed or simply better in a team.

You realise that in order to control your elephant, it is no use walking behind it holding onto the reins as it pulls you along. You must take a different approach and you need to be bold. With guidance from your advisers, you tentatively climb up and learn how to sit on top of your elephant, where you can not only see where you are going, but also, with just a gentle touch with your feet on its ears, steer the elephant in the direction you want it to go.

In a short time you are now managing the elephant instead of it running you.

By acknowledging that you needed help, listening to professional advice and taking clear action as a result, you are once again fulfilling your dreams.

Phase 4

Once you have learned how to control your elephant, and it won’t take long, you can hire and train your own mahout to manage the elephant for you, while you ride in the canopied howdah behind, sitting back and enjoying the view…

What stage in your business are you at?  Do you need new knowledge and the encouragement to take bold action to manage your business?  Perhaps a coach and/or a collaborative fractional FD could give you that support you need?


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