Too many business owners spend all their time and effort working in their business and not on it. The problem is that when you work in your business, you treat it like a job and yourself like a technician. As a CEO, you should not be doing the job of a technician. Technicians can be hired and replaced. Your role as a business owner is irreplaceable. Are you acting like it?
- If you were to leave your business today and go on vacation for a week, what would you come back to? Can things run smoothly without your presence or do you need to micromanage everything just to keep it going? Your business should run like a well-oiled machine. It shouldn’t be manually operated by you. If your business can’t survive for a week without your direct intervention, you don’t have the right systems in place.
- Make a list of the things you do every day. How many of these things are technical tasks or busy work that could be done by anyone? How many of them are things only you can do? Have you crafted yourself out of a CEO position and into a technician position? You should be focusing on marketing and leadership. Taking a look at your daily routine can be very revealing of the position you truly hold.
- Do you hold your employees accountable for doing their jobs or are you just another employee? How many times do you end up performing the task you hired someone else to do because they don’t do it the way you do? Train your employees to do the job you’ve hired them for, the way you want them to. It’s no longer your role to do that task. As CEO of your business, you should only be doing the tasks you can’t hire someone else to do.
- If someone else were to take over your company, what would you expect from them as CEO? What traits and qualities would you look for in your replacement? Write down all the things you think a CEO would need to do to run your business. What would they need to do to maintain it and what would they need to do to improve and grow it? How many of those things are you doing on a day to day basis? What’s preventing you from starting?
- Are you thinking about the future or just about the present? Successful entrepreneurs always have a plan, and usually a couple of back-up plans too. If you’re only focusing on the day-to-day operations of your business, you likely aren’t planning ahead for the future. The goal for every business owner should be to ultimately sell their business but you can’t sell a business that relies solely on you.
After looking at these tough questions, hopefully you’ll have a better idea of whether you own a business or just a demanding job. If you do own a job, the good news is it’s never too late to make the changes you need to turn it into a business, but the first step is always to face reality. It’s difficult to think objectively about your business, but as soon as you do, you’ve already made the first move toward improving it and building your dream business.