Enthusiasm and passion are only one part of the puzzle. You need two skill sets – the first is your talent, enthusiasm, and passion. They give you the ability and energy to work IN your business. The second skill set is business acumen – the working ON your business. This is a very common phenomenon! In our practice we find that business owners are strong in product and/or service delivery or in selling (sometimes both), but typically not as well versed in the business of business.
How do you develop this ability? Reading from others who have gone before you, mentors and business leaders who share their knowledge, education, and coaching are solid sources. Seeking out advice from others who have experienced the same growth pains or from trusted advisors with experience in designing and implementing business processes are great routes to follow. Be open in your conversations and know that many of the recommendations may make you uncomfortable at first.
As your company grows you should look for qualified professionals to fulfill the “other” roles and responsibilities as required of your business. You may have completed these functions out of necessity and budget restrictions, but in the long run, you add more value to the company through product/service delivery or in sales. Hire people that are talented in the areas in which you are not, either directly or as a part-time contractor. Doing so will allow you to continue to grow the company while gaining peace of mind as a result of having an experienced person assist with other vital parts of your company. Knowing what needs to be done and when are the important items for a business owner to monitor, not trying to be the expert at those functions!
Making the necessary leap in working on their business is difficult for most entrepreneurs: they are independently-minded and view asking for help as a sign of weakness. Hanging on to certain functions long after a change is needed often is construed as an act of control by a business owner when, in reality, it’s a lack of trust in others to complete the tasks and/or concerns that the assigned party will take advantage of the situation. All too often good, contributing employees leave organizations as a direct result of the business owner’s micromanagement or blatant lack of trust (as the owner’s fears play out).
The issues related to related to the business of business and their management by the owners of privately held firms apply regardless of the size of the organization. Ongoing reviews on the status of the company with internal and external advisors are important activities that can be performed as a part of an annual strategic planning process. The best run companies are committed to constant improvement programs such as lean processing.
Critical Mistake #3A proven path to improvement in the business of business is to retain an experienced business coach or consultant. With The Executive Influence you will find experienced staff to guide challenging discussions to get an organization to the next level while remaining sensitive to the business owner’s natural fears in growth and company development. Contact us to begin a discrete, confidential discussion and expect results.