The life of a small business owner ebbs and flows.
It is very difficult getting out of the day to day when so many people, including your customers, key employees, and suppliers rely on you. After a period of time there actually becomes an adrenaline rush of being the person that can figure things out and make things happen. A traditional firefighting mode sets in.
Something unplanned always happens. A major challenge with delivery, a product failure or a key account leaves. Perhaps a key employee that you cannot live without decides that your place is no longer for him or her.
As the owner or leader, you could be dragged into all these situations by necessity. Your staff looks to you to step in. After all, this is your baby and you are the one that is supposed to make it right. Your employees at times may even consider you as the messiah and look to you to save the day. This can lead to becoming stuck in a current business state. The only way the business can grow is by working harder and longer and with brute force.
Business consultants and coaches will talk about working on your business vs. in your business. This is much easier said than done. You may decide to bring in a president in the effort of getting away from the business, but once again, when things aren’t going right, you may decide to parachute in and save the day.
How can this paradigm change?
First, define why you want to work on your business instead of in it.
You may want to develop your employees. Perhaps you want to sell the company and wish to be seen as less valuable. You may want to work yourself out of a certain role so you actually can manage from the beach.
If you want to work on your business instead of in it, you may need to look to your employees for help.
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With the right people and a process that you believe in, they, in fact, can grow the business. Check in with them. What did they do in the last 30 days? What are their plans for the next 30, 60 and 90 days?
You have an opportunity to check in at least once per month. What happened in the past 30 days? What are the upcoming plans?
Let your employees manage and own the process. If you don’t feel they’re ready, set SMART Goals with them. Use these goals to close that gap and check the progress regularly.
Doing this puts you more in control by giving up a level of control to your staff and valued team members as long as they are accountable for their actions. Now they can really feel engaged, trusted, and empowered.
When you delegate work to your staff, use these 5 steps:
When you review with your employees, you may find your business starting to grow through them. By changing the paradigm through your actions, less time is spent firefighting and more is spent working on the business. You will feel like you have your life back vs. being all consumed by your plight in life of running the company.