Often entrepreneurs feel ready to take their company to “the next level,” but aren’t sure how to make it happen. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to make life a bit less lonely at the top, and to give yourself the smarts and inspiration to push onward.
Access expertise You may know perfectly well how to run your company, but if you step back for a moment you’ll probably see that there’s one thing (okay, maybe a couple of things) that you do better than anyone else. And there’s probably something you could do a little better. After accepting this moment of transcendent self-awareness, go get that expertise. This may mean reaching out to a consultant or simply someone you admire who is good at what you aren’t. Don’t sweat how formal or informal your approach might be.
Grow your network Many owners are looking to raise growth capital. Look for business organizations that can be helpful, such as industry associations or your local chamber of commerce. Often, these organizations link up with companies that could be a supplier, a potential customer or someone you can work with in some way. But they also often enable entrepreneurs and CEOs to open up about the challenges they face, and to identify new solutions. Networking with other similarly-situated CEOs can only help.
Be strategic Most days, company owners are busy simply running their businesses. Few owners get to step back and think strategically. They just don’t allocate the time to it. Strategic planning also can devolve quickly into budgeting sessions or other mundane issues. Step back and take a day (or more) and think about what your business could be. What is the opportunity you should really be pursuing?
Discipline yourself Some of us can get up in the morning and say, “I’m going to get this done today.” Others need someone looking over their shoulders. One benefit of having a board, informal or formal, is that you can use them to add more discipline to your business. If you have to report out to your advisors, you are going to need to tell them what you have accomplished!
Prepare for the sale Eventually you aren’t going to own your business--either you or it is going to pass away, or you are going to transfer or sell it to someone else. Reporting out to advisors or a board on a regular basis is one of the best ways to prepare your business for the transfer process, because the questions your advisors or board will ask are probably not that different than the questions a potential buyer would ask.