Making the transition from entrepreneur to CEO of your company can be a challenge. When you start out, you are the business. You were responsible for growing all aspects of your business. Yet. before you can grow your business and embark on the transition from entrepreneur to a leader, you need a clear vision of how you want the business to evolve.
Learning the skills to become a good manager and leader takes time and you will find your success also will evolve and improve over time. The most significant evolution is your mindset—you will start to see the world differently, and you will become savvier in handling difficult situations.
Building a successful transition from entrepreneur to the CEO of your company
Let go of your ego and share decision making.
Yes, this business is your “baby,” but it cannot survive with you alone. Shift your mindset and realize that you are not the only one who can adequately handle situations or complete assignments. Be willing to share your knowledge so that others can share in the decision-making process. As the entrepreneur, you did all the work; as the CEO, you direct others to complete the work. As you transition, share more ownership of projects and allow your expanding team to know that they are a critical part of the company’s success. As the entrepreneur, you most likely are the most knowledgeable about the services or products the company sells. However, you may not be well versed at handling people issues, maintaining the financial records, or marketing the company. As the company grows, include knowledgeable people to fill in areas that are your weaknesses, and listen to their advice. Egos need to be left out of the equation. Nobody is an expert at everything. Savvy entrepreneurs listen, learn and implement good advice in order to grow successful businesses.
Design a plan for growing your team
I always suggest that my clients who are entrepreneurs, envision what their org chart will be when they have reached the concluding expansion of their business, and they decide to exit from the company. There are many job slots identified with specific responsibilities. Yet, at the beginning of the company’s development, you are responsible for all the positions. As the company grows, your name is replaced by those being hired into the company.
The entrepreneur must carefully consider how the company will grow, and what is the best sequence for transferring job responsibilities to hired team members. This takes a concerted effort to understand how the company interacts with its customers and what is the easiest job responsibilities to transfer. This allows the entrepreneur continues to spend as much time as possible on higher pay-off activities.
It can be difficult for you to delegate and relinquish control of the enterprise you created. Yet, as an organization grows, there is too much work for one person to handle and maintaining control over everything. This becomes a major liability. Trusting those who have been hired to complete their assignments effectively and efficiently is a start. Secondly, you must trust the staff to make more decisions. The staff now is an equal representative of the company. One of the keys to success is to evaluate staff selections so that if someone needs to be replaced or offered additional training, it can be done so in a timely manner. Creating a highly productive staff that produces quality results is a goal for any growing a business.
As an entrepreneur building your company, you will find yourself moving from a reactive mindset to a more system focused mindset. The way you handle tasks—everything from marketing to sales, to creating products and keeping financial records—begin to have regularly followed processes. When building your business, it was important to find the easiest way to get things done. When adding staff members, these processes or systems must become documents so that the way things get done can be easily learned and followed. Implementing systems allows the business to run more efficiently producing more consistent high-quality results. The systems begin to be the engine for the company’s future growth. The entrepreneur then has time to manage the future planning for the company.
Enjoy the ride
Growing a business is like riding a roller coaster. There are ups and downs. Good days and not so good days. Lots of stress, occasional panic, and sudden emotional outbursts will be part of the mix. However, entrepreneurs who start their businesses knowing that there is no overnight success, that there is much work to be done to achieve their vision will be better equipped for the challenges before the glory days. Staffers will be more willing to go the extra mile if their efforts are recognized and they are made aware of the vision they are moving toward.
Download Transition from Entrepreneur to CEO Using These 5 Tips as a pdf.