Just as there is a difference between running a business and expanding it, there's a difference between working in a business and working on it. We asked members of the Entrepreneurs' Organization to share their best advice on handling day-to-day tasks while staying focused on the big picture.
Hire the right team
"We hire people on the basis of metrics--personality and culture tests as well as skills and values assessments--to determine if they are a good fit for our vision. What's more, we train and empower new hires so they are aware of big-picture company goals and take a personal desire to achieve them. It becomes less a matter of management and more a delegation process."
Tonya Lanthier, EO Atlanta
Get out of the office
"I schedule time outside the office, whether it's to meet with a new potential partner, a chat over lunch with an old client, or an out-of-town industry convention for a few days. This clears my mind to think about the company's future."
Derek Goldstein, EO DC
Principal and CEO, Casaplex
Trust your people
"I was physically incapacitated and had to take three months off, and when I returned, sales were up and nobody had left. Clients were happy, and the bills were paid. The business was in stellar operating condition, and I realized my overinvolvement was the problem. It was inhibiting one of our company's strengths--its people. I simply needed to step back and let the great people I hired shine."
Bill Douglas, EO Colorado
Founder and CEO, EssentialLink
Schedule big-picture discussions
"Our executive team meets to work on planning and growth. While we brainstorm new ideas and explore higher-level issues, we prevent the session from devolving into discussions of daily challenges. By doing so, we have been able to engage new systems and processes, and bolster our effectiveness at working in our business."
Billy Odom, EO East Tennessee
CEO, Odom Construction Systems
"I free up time to focus on strategic planning by automating as much of the business as I can. Any repetitive task or process can be automated using today's technology. Most day-to-day tasks are repetitive or time consuming and can quickly be passed off to a computer."
Dan Abbate, EO South Florida