Last Saturday night I took my family to a pizza restaurant for dinner. It had good food, good service, and a good family environment. The only thing I noticed was that the owner was doing it all. He was sitting people, taking some of the orders, serving food, refilling glasses, handling some problems, supervising the kitchen and staff, and basically running around frantic and frazzled. I felt sorry for him. While such level of micro-management and multi-tasking undoubtedly contributed to some of his success, it was clearly contributing to his exhaustion, stress, and imprisonment … visibly taking a toll on this man. As a business coach I thought to myself, there has to be a happy medium for this guy … owner engagement and oversight without having to do it all … and I mean ALL.
Sadly, as a business coach for nearly 20 years, I’ve seen countless small business owners function like this restaurant owner … the vast majority of them trying to be all things to the business and do all things for the business. They tend to think and act like Chief ‘Everything’ Officers … doing it all, day in and day out without end. That’s a sure recipe for exhaustion, business owner blues, and burn out. It’s time to stop the insanity!
As your virtual Growth Coach, I implore all our blog readers to start thinking and acting like a real CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and stop thinking and acting like the typical, overworked and overwhelmed small business owner. You cannot afford to be a slave or prisoner to your business … the price to pay is way too high on your health, sanity, family, employees, and life. For greater levels of success and fulfillment, you must elevate beyond the technical trenches of the business and adopt a greater vision and a more strategic mindset. You must stop thinking and acting like a typical employee or technician. You are the owner, and for your sake, start acting the part.
At The Growth Coach, a North American business coaching and sales coaching franchise system, we help several thousand clients each year (small business owners, professionals, franchisees, teams of managers, etc.) to think and act like leaders, not doers. To function like true CEOs, not like hands-on, detail-oriented technicians. With this Growth Coach blog, I hope to help you at least start the same transformation. You, your business, and your family will benefit dramatically from this face-reality, tough-love business coaching session … please continue reading.
Tired of being tried? Tired of being overworked, overwhelmed and feeling like a prisoner to your business? Ready to change? If so, then commit to be the Chief EXECUTIVE Officer for your business. That’s a whole new level of thinking and behaving with new habits. As CEO, for example, you need to work less IN the business and more ON the business: its purpose, direction, strategy, structure, systems, people, goals, and accountability processes. That’s what a CEO does. He/she sees the whole business, not just its parts. They lead more, toil less. They see the big picture. You too need to have an aerial view to know honestly where your business is right now (good, bad and ugly), where you want it to go, and what action plan will help you lead your business there. Again, all about leadership, not just doer-ship.
Put on your CEO hat. Instead of shuffling papers or doing the bookkeeping, decide how to make your company different, better, more profitable and more systems-oriented. Think and act like a business architect, not the bricklayer. Your ultimate goal is to design and shape a business that serves you and works independently from you … a business that is systems-dependent and not owner-dependent. You want to create a business that runs nearly on autopilot and spits out cash. The business should NOT be dependent on you to do everything … touch every transaction, make every decision, and solve every problem. That’s not a business, that’s an impossible JOB for one person. You should not be stuck in the technical trenches of the business. Again, stop being the Chief ‘Everything’ Officer and start thinking and acting like an ‘Executive’ Officer … a real leader.
As an effective leader, you need to be more strategic, long-term focused and less tactical/technical, day-to-day fixated. Again, you are NOT an employee, you are the OWNER. If you don’t focus on the entire business, no one else will. It will just drift or run aground. So how do you stop thinking and acting like an employee or technician and start thinking like a true CEO? Here are three steps to consider seriously:
- First, you should change the metaphor in your head for what it means to be an owner. Regardless of your industry or size of your business, start viewing yourself as a CEO, not an employee or even a manager … you are the ultimate LEADER. Instead of seeing yourself as a role player, see yourself as a head coach. Effective owners prefer to view themselves as a director, conductor, facilitator, or captain. Regardless, choose a metaphor for what it means to be a leader, not a hands-on doer.
- To help with this mindset transformation, start referring to yourself as CEO. Put it on your business card, stationery, website, email signature, etc. Using the term CEO will force you to see your company as an entity above and beyond yourself, as a separate and valuable asset that needs to be professionally managed and optimized. You are not the business and the business is not you. Spend time and energy helping to build, improve and optimize this asset. For example, focus on how to grow sales, reduce costs, expand your competitive advantages, and increase your value to customers. Spend less time in the kitchen, more time cooking up expansion plans.
- Consider that as CEO, you get paid at least the equivalent of $150 an hour to professionally manage this separate entity and valuable asset… your business. Ask yourself before you touch any task, “Would a successful and respected CEO do such a task?” Or ask, “Is this task worth me doing it at a cost of $150 an hour?” Stop doing ten-dollar tasks … you are stealing money from your bottom-line results. For example, if you do an hour of bookkeeping each week that someone else could do well for $20 an hour, you are shorting yourself and your business $130 per hour ($150-$20). Let others in your organization or vendors do such tasks if they can do them better and cheaper than you can. Your job is to lead, not do bookkeeping. Learn to delegate !! Delegate low-value, low-return tasks to others in the company or outsource them to vendors. Stay elevated at a higher role for reflecting, thinking, planning, and holding others accountable. Focus your time on making money, saving money, or improving the overall customer experience and value they receive.
Don’t forget, to get different results, you must think and act differently. Stop doing the same old thing. Mix it up. Start to think and act like a CEO. Be sure to elevate your vision, thinking and tasks. Stop being a Chief ‘Everything’ Officer and be more of a Chief ‘Executive’ Officer. If so, you will get much more out of your business and life.