By Michael Gunther
The biggest issue I see with entrepreneurs is their struggle to make the transition from entrepreneur to truly leading a profitable, scalable and sustainable business.
When you build your business from the ground up, you’re used to wearing every hat. You become accustomed to doing everything for your business. Learning to lead means you need to delegate, build a strong management team and a develop a solid infrastructure. This frees up your time so you can spend it strategizing and growing the business, versus getting caught up in the day-to-day operations.
Here are three things that you can do to make the transition from entrepreneur to proactive leader of a profitable, scalable and sustainable business.
1. Engage in “Working on Your Business” time.
Each week, completely block out two-to-four hours for “working on your business” time. This is one of the most critical components of leading your business. So, ignore your email, turn off your phone and make sure you don’t have any interruptions. During this time, ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s going on with the business?
- Is there a task I’m doing right now that someone on my team should be doing?
- How is my management team doing? Do I need to support or coach them in key areas?
- Are there any initiatives that we’re trying to move forward, but are stalled?
Once you reflect on these questions, start to strategize and plan how you’re going to coach and hold your team accountable to move things forward. If you take this time to work on your business, it will allow you to accelerate, strategize and lead instead of doing everything in your business.
2. Delegate to your team.
Ask yourself if you’re truly delegating and allowing your management team to make the decisions they need to make. If everyone is coming to you for approval, you are the bottleneck to progress and acting like an entrepreneur instead of a leader. Entrepreneurs are used to doing everything themselves and solving all issues since they used to play every role in the organization. But it’s just not sustainable. Instead of making the decisions yourself, you will coach your team to make those decisions. Yes, the team is going to make mistakes, but that’s how they learn. You had to learn from your mistakes at some point in your career. You have to let go of control and allow people to start making decisions.
3. Review how your time is spent.
You should be spending about half of your time on coaching and developing your managers. Start by having weekly strategy meetings and management meetings and ensure they are focused on the task at hand. Hold your team accountable for small actions each week that will allow you to reach your long-term vision. If you don’t do these things, you can easily fall into the trap of wondering why your initiatives aren’t moving forward. By creating a strong management infrastructure, your staff will stop getting stuck in the day-to-day tactics and will work toward the bigger picture items that will propel your organization forward and allow you to grow the business you really want.
If you’re a business owner who feels ineffective, overwhelmed and has a team stalled in place, maybe it’s time to quit being an entrepreneur and start being a leader of your business. By shifting your behaviors, properly managing your time and making an effort to coach your team, you will create the right infrastructure to attain your long-term goals.
"Through the managed growth process that we learned through Collaboration, we were able to grow our business from a $500,000/year company to a $13+ million/year company." - Joni Anderson, President of Anderson Burton Construction
"Collaboration helped us identify room for improvement, weak areas and where we could improve our whole operational process. It helped me realize how important it is to think of the big picture." - Andrew Grow, President of Injectors Direct