Adopting the CEO Approach to Ownership
Running a business can feel all-consuming. After all, your business is your brainchild and main source of income – which is why most founders end up feeling like they need to ‘own’ every aspect of the business. These owners end up stretched thin, feeling they can never truly ‘take their foot off the pedal’ (or gas, as we say in the good old USA.)
However, to scale your business effectively, you need to escape this ownership trap. Even in a small-scale business, it’s better to act like a CEO (chief executive officer) than it is to act as an owner attempting to juggle every aspect of business ownership.
A CEO’s responsibility is to lead the development of the company’s vision and strategy. For owners in small businesses, learning how to practice a more CEO-orientated mindset means you’ll begin to think from the outside in, giving you breathing room to make smarter decisions rather than feeling mired in the day-to-day.
But taking that step isn’t easy. The CEO role I just described is usually someone NOT involved in the day-to-day management of a business. To give your business the best chance it can, you need to step into a true CEO mindset. To do that, I’d suggest following these steps…
Learn how to delegate
Whether you’ve already recruited staff, or you’re considering it, part of growing a business in a scaleable fashion involves being able to delegate tasks to employees or freelancers. Rather than holding on to every critical part of the business, you need to build a team that can not only competently complete tasks – but do them better than you.
Hiring staff who are better than you at certain parts of your business, such as marketing, sales, operations etc, will help free up your time. Rather than spending your precious time on activities you aren’t an expert in, you’ll delegate to your team and monitor the results.
For owners who are accustomed to doing everything themselves, this might already feel scary. Employees and freelancers alike cost money and come with certain commitments – all of which can be intimidating if you’re not confident in your business.
But for ambitious owners looking to grow, it’s essential. To be as blunt as I possibly can, it’s impossible for you to do everything yourself – there’s always a cap to how big a business can be if you don’t delegate.
Don’t be the bottleneck
You won’t see an effective CEO micromanaging every part of every team. In small businesses, however, it’s super common to see owners overextending themselves – demanding that you have the final say in every output and becoming a bottleneck your employees can’t overcome.
Rather than simply delegating tasks and not monitoring the results, you should instead build a system of processes that employees can use. If you invest time in designing processes or establishing systems, you can remove yourself from the equation. An employee can follow the process and reach the required output, all without you needing to get involved.
Digital tools help with this, too – task management systems like ClickUp help give structure and accountability to your team without you having to be manually involved.
Foster the people
We’re not talking about the band behind the 2011 song Pumped Up Kicks. Instead, I’m talking about fostering a specific approach within your team. Creating a culture of proactivity and decision-making has a knock-on effect where future hires will naturally absorb the culture of proactivity.
Fostering a proactive culture isn’t just about mindset and attitude – the processes and systems we just discussed will help establish the culture too. The more you can instil a sense of confidence and responsibility in your employees, the less manual management you’ll need to do.
Make your strategies and planning perfect
A CEO’s focus is on the top-level strategy of a business. As an owner, all of the steps we’ve discussed are there to help you free up your own time and focus instead on the strategic plans for your business. With the right systems in place, there’s no excuse for a poor strategy on your part – it should be as perfect as you can possibly make it.
Communication is key
Once all of the other steps are taken care of and you’ve got your team ready, you’ll need to ensure communication remains effective from the outset. Imagine you’re in a corporate board room and you need to explain your business and its vision to stakeholders – the words and passion you use to communicate at this level should be reflected across your entire team.
Make sure you communicate clearly at all times. Do NOT sit in your ivory tower - communicate, communicate, communicate. Your team are NOT mind readers. They need to fully understand the vision, the goals, the KPIs and where the business is heading.
Communication is a two-way street, so look for feedback and grow from it.
These are, of course, just a few of the things you could consider if you’re interested in adopting a more CEO-oriented approach. The main message I’m trying to convey is that you must step into a true CEO mindset if you want to grow. A successful business needs an owner that can take a higher-level view, trusting their team, processes and systems to take care of the output.
If you’d like to know more about how a more strategic approach can help you grow, why not get in touch? As an expert in the operations side of things, I can free you from the ownership trap and allow you to focus your time on what really drives results.
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