The growth curve of being a business owner is unlike any other. For example, athletes get better at doing the same things over and over again from the start of their careers as a professional. Professional athletes don’t get to Olympic level overnight; they work for years, sometimes decades, to strengthen and grow their skills. A lot of what you see of a professional athlete is surface-level. They do much more unseen training to perfect small and unnoticed movements. The noticeable difference is that as Professional athletes get better at doing the same motions, their strength curve matches their career success. As an entrepreneur, your role will constantly change as your company grows.
In a business, if you continue doing the same thing you did at a startup and try to grow your company the same way, you won’t survive. Whenever an entrepreneur is asked, “How did you start?” They usually tell you the same story: “I had to do everything.” but as you grow and scale your business, you need to adjust.
The Quitting Fantasy
When you start to grow your team, if you don’t have the suitable systems in place, it feels like extra pressure on you. Having to do your job while making sure someone else is doing theirs can make you feel like it would be easier to do everything yourself. Managing the team is another thing on your plate, and it would be easier to return to doing everything yourself where it’s comfortable and manageable to scale back the business to you doing all the work.
We refer to this as The Quitting Fantasy.
This fantasy shows how unique entrepreneurs are compared to the average person. Most people dream of retirement, lying on the beach with no responsibilities. Entrepreneurs dream of doing everything at once, having all the responsibility, and doing it alone. The Quitting Fantasy is, “Man if I could go back to doing everything myself, everything would be so much easier.”
This mindset is something every successful entrepreneur has had to overcome. Going from doing everything yourself to helping others do it for you is a difficult yet necessary transition. It all comes down to realizing that solving problems for your team is not serving your team. The most challenging transition is going from being the driving force in growing your business to sitting back and helping your team be that driving force.
Most entrepreneurs have difficulty admitting that they put up with more than they should in their business. What you are willing to tolerate will make or break your success as an entrepreneur. The more successful the entrepreneur, the less they tolerate. If you are running your business by solving problems, this means your business is run through personality rather than process. Putting systems in place for when problems come up allows your team to handle it independently without you needing to take the wheel to save the day.
Highly successful entrepreneurs have systems to drive their businesses for them, where their team runs everything behind the scenes, and they are only needed where their time is the most valuable.
You Are Not a Unicorn
As your business grows, you can’t do everything yourself. You must give up control and let your team take the wheel. You should do your job in your company from the passenger seat–giving directions but not driving. If you try to continue solving everything, you will crash.
The only way to run a company long-term is by putting systems in place for your team. Give them the tools to do everything you used to do. Take an inventory of your time using a Time Study. Once you have clarity on what you need to offload, document it like crazy. Do what you are good at; hire people to do the rest!
Here’s another thing: narrow down your role, and stop trying to be a unicorn. When an entrepreneur does too much, it can lead to:
- Burnout: Handling many responsibilities can lead to mental and physical exhaustion, affecting decision-making and creativity.
- Oversight: When you’re overwhelmed with trying to solve problems, you stop yourself from being creative. You can miss out on great ideas and visions for your company. You even miss out on essential things in your personal life due to constant worry about your business.
- Stagnation: you can hold your business back if you resist delegating. Fear of losing quality or something not fitting your vision can stop you from giving up responsibility.
- Inconsistent Quality: Spreading yourself too thin can compromise quality. Nothing will be at its full potential if you have yourself doing everything.
From Problem Solver to Visionary Leader
A crucial phase in the entrepreneurial journey is recognizing the need to shift roles. In the early days, an entrepreneur’s primary value might lie in problem-solving and jumping from one challenge to another. Yet, as the company grows, that role should evolve into that of a visionary leader.
A visionary leader sets the company’s tone and direction, ensuring everyone aligns with the larger goal. This involves:
- Inspiring Teams: Motivating employees to work towards the company’s mission and vision.
- Setting Clear Visions: Outline a clear path for the future and guide your team to success. Giving clear direction and process for your team will allow you to focus on what you need to do.
- Fostering a Growth Environment: Encouraging innovation, continuous learning, and embracing change. Hosting a safe work environment for your employees, allowing open dialogue and ideas.
It’s essential to recognize what is not on the list above. Things like answering phones, responding to Instagram comments, and doing your books are things that you can delegate to specialized team members.
Eliminating Tolerance to Enhance Growth in Your Business
Entrepreneurs often put up with issues or annoyances that can hamper growth.
Allowing little things to cause problems in your company with an “I’ll do it myself” mindset can dramatically slow your growth. When you implement systems to solve these problems, you can set your business on track for success. Key tolerances include:
- Dysfunctional Team Dynamics: If your team lacks communication and boundaries, they can start to resent each other.
- Inefficient Processes: As entrepreneurs, we are masters of overcomplicating things. You do not need to build a rocket ship to go across the street.. Using newer and faster software with simple systems lets your team get things done without frustration.
- Over-dependence on the Founder: If your team asks for your approval for every decision, major or minor, growth will come at the cost of your sanity.
Systems Will Set You Free
By implementing systems, you allow your staff to take things into their own hands. Clear rules and expectations let your employees know what you need from them and take you out of the equation.
Implementing systems will save your business. Having transparent processes and operations will change everything. Letting you go from problem solver to leader. Instead of trying to solve problems for your team, give your team simple and easy guidelines to solve these problems independently. Freeing you from these tasks lets you focus on your ideal role in the company, whatever that may be. You are the visionary, not the unicorn.
Contact us at Simple Operations to learn more.