The good news? You've worked hard as a solo entrepreneur and grown your business to a new level. The bad news? Now you're unsure what exactly you're doing. What does your role in the company look like now that your business has expanded?
For many leaders, it is natural to continue with the status quo. After all, the company is humming along--why rock the boat? But you may have too many responsibilities that are diluting your energy and, possibly, hindering further growth in your business.
Here are steps you can take before burnout sets in and you want to leave what you've worked so hard to create.
Analyze Your Current Situation
For many leaders, the process of changing course begins because they feel that something isn't "right." Of course, this isn't scientific, but it is a good starting point. When you want to pivot professionally, the first step is to catalog everything you do on a day-to-day basis.
One client decided to create a spreadsheet of all of his tasks. After this exercise, he realized why he didn't have a free moment during the day: he had become the hub for all final decision making.
As the company had grown, he had continued to keep many roles. Not only was he the CEO--he was also the office manager and entire HR department. It's unreasonable to think of a CEO approving expense reports, but that's what my client was doing. He had taken on more responsibilities without realizing all of the time associated with each new task: the spreadsheet made this clear to him.
Re-craft Your Role
After you have cataloged tasks, it's time to analyze and re-craft your responsibilities based upon the new company landscape. Answer questions such as:
- What is the company's plan for the next year?
- Based upon the company plan, what are three critical areas on which you must focus? I call these "buckets." (There could be more or fewer options to consider.)
- What do you like working on? What do you enjoy, versus what are you good at?
- Looking at each task on your spreadsheet, what can you immediately delegate? (For many leaders, this is the most crucial step in the process).
The next step is to take the three key buckets and fill in your new tasks. Use this to filter your task spreadsheet.
For example: a client I worked with saw that in the next year, there would be a great need for expansion of the working space. In the past he had negotiated and managed all of the office space details. Yet in looking at his three "buckets," my client saw that office management was not essential.
My client was able to delegate this task--and eventually, even more time-sucking and energy-draining activities.
Carefully Communicate the New Plan
Now it is time to create a communication plan to share with key stakeholders. Your plan needs to speak to your company culture and work for you.
First, it is essential to consider all of the stakeholders that you will need to address. These people may include the board, executive team, your leadership team, and clients. Then, you will need to think about the best communications strategy to deliver the news to your groups.
It is vital to create a stakeholder communication scenario. For example: one client realized that his company culture was slow to change. Therefore, he needed to deliver the news carefully over an extended period of time. This was at odds with his desire to start immediately, but ultimately in the best interest of the company.
My client first decided to share his recommendations with a more difficult member of the executive team. This strategic move allowed him to hear what concerns the executive team member raised. Then, my client took his plan to the broader committee. He was then able to communicate clearly across the company.
Growth means change. Stopping and assessing where and how you can make changes in your role is an essential part of your job as CEO. As you grow and learn with the company, you will serve your company in a new, expanded capacity--for the good of all involved.