Do you know how to run your small business like a CEO? Well first let me ask you this. Do you remember why you started a business in the first place? Gaining purpose and freedom are usually at the top of most people’s lists. Unfortunately, most business owners accomplish neither of those things.
There are many reasons but one common thread that runs through the ruins of most failed businesses is the fact that the business owner didn’t run their business like a CEO. Instead, they let stress and overwhelm take control. They stayed inside their comfort zone, didn’t bother to build any systems within the business, and they mistakenly assumed they could run and operate the entire business solo.
If you’re guilty of anything I mentioned above, I forgive you…. but it’s time for a reality check. Most businesses fail because they go with the grain. If you want to succeed, you need to go against it. The way most people run their businesses sends them on a downward spiral until they become miserable working in their own company. I don’t want that to be your future, and I’m sure you don’t want that for yourself either.
So, let’s clarify the difference between a hobbyist, freelancer, entrepreneur, small business owner and a CEO, and what it means to be all of these things. Then, let’s explore why you should run your small business like a CEO and how doing so will help you to scale your business to exponential heights (minus the loss of sanity).
But before we get into all of that, I have another question for you…
Are you stuck in business purgatory?
Okay, so maybe your business is swimming along fine. And by fine, I mean you’re not drowning in debt and praying for a miracle to lift your business from the depths of despair. In other words, you’re not in ‘hell’… but, you’re also not in heaven either. Gaining more clients takes more effort than you thought and you’re ‘hustling’ from morning to night. You’re stuck in business purgatory (yes, it’s a real place).
Let me explain…
Business purgatory is when you are a business owner without a plan or strategy to scale. You started your business because it was your passion. Now, you spend your days hoping and praying that your business will just take off because heck, you deserve it. You’ve worked yourself (and your team) to the bone and hard work always pays off, right?
Well… not always. At least, not in the way that you might think. If you are constantly working in your business and you barely have time to grab a cup of coffee, how will you possibly scale? Let’s say you have 100 clients right now and those 100 clients take up all of your time. How are you going to scale from 100 to 1000 clients and have enough time for them all? You won’t. Running a business like this is not sustainable or scalable.
This is just one of many mistakes I see business owners make time and time again. I actually did a whole video (and blog post) on the topic – 10 Top Reasons Why Your Business Will Fail. So, if you want to brush up on your ‘what not to do’s’ I highly suggest you watch that video and/or read the post (after you’ve finished reading this one of course).
Something has to change TODAY. You need to crawl out of business purgatory and the only way to do that is by thinking like a CEO and running your business like one!
Many business owners and entrepreneurs have a case of mistaken identity. They think that they already behave and think like a CEO, but they run their business more like a freelancer or hobbyist. It’s fine to be a freelancer or hobbyist of course, but you will have a hard time scaling a successful business that way.
So, how do you know if you’re a freelancer, hobbyist, small business owner, entrepreneur, or CEO?
Here’s a quick breakdown for you:
You’re a freelancer if….
You use your expertise and trade your time for money. For example, a client will ask for your services and you charge them based on how long it takes you to complete the project or task, etc.
Since you’re trading time for money, it’s impossible to scale beyond that. The life of a freelancer can be very ‘freeing’ because you can decide when, where, and how long you want to work. But, it’s not a scaleable business.
You’re a hobbyist if…
You run a business based on your passion, but it lacks any real plan.
You don’t have a financial plan and you have no strategy or direction. You have no idea how to sell it and that’s fine. It’s a hobby and you do it because you enjoy it.
You’re a small business owner if…
You run a business day-to-day for a long period of time. You might run a web design agency or a delicious bakery on the corner of your street. You run it every day and you have been doing so for a long time.
You’re an entrepreneur if…
You’ve found an innovative solution to a need and you’ve built a business around it.
You might have discovered more than one solution and started multiple businesses, making you a ‘serial entrepreneur.’
You’re an ‘entrepreneur turned business owner’ if…
You started your business as an entrepreneur and then continued to run the business for a long time, possibly years.
You’ve transitioned from an entrepreneur to a business owner because your business is no longer an innovative solution to a problem. It’s an active business now and that’s great!
You’re a CEO if…
You’re the highest-ranking executive in the business.
The CEO can be an employee or the business owner (or entrepreneur) can choose to run the business like a CEO and actively try to scale and grow it.
How to run your small business like a CEO
CEO’s are responsible for defining a strategy and vision for the business and making sure they happen. They navigate a path to the vision which includes a plan for overcoming possible outcomes.
If you run your small business like a CEO, you can avoid stress, overwhelm, and yes, even failure. But how? Let’s find out!
1. Communicate strategy and vision
Any CEO worth their salt will know how to create and communicate strategy and vision for the business. As the CEO, you must be able to effectively communicate the strategy and vision internally to your team and externally to clients and those who have an impact on your business.
2. Build a team to deliver it
It’s almost impossible to deliver on the strategy and vision of your business without a team. You can’t do it alone. If you want to do it by yourself, you’re not a business owner, you’re a freelancer. To scale your business, you need to build a team of people with different expertise. As awesome as you are, you probably can’t do the marketing, finances, project management, sales, and HR, etc., on your own. You need a team!
3. Define the business’ culture and value
The CEO must define the cultures and values that the business will operate around. This ensures that everyone on the team understands and works within the same culture. However, it’s up to you to communicate what the business’ culture and values are. That way, everyone on the team will be motivated and aligned in their understanding of how to deliver the strategy and vision of the business.
4. Make sure you’ve got enough cash in the bank to make all of this happen!
This one is more of a bonus point and it’s about cash. To run a business like a CEO, you need to make sure that you’ve got enough cash flow to keep your business moving towards the vision!
If you want to think and operate like a CEO, there’s no better time to start than the present! You don’t have to have everything figured out right now. But you can definitely start to take the necessary steps to help you have the breathing space, capacity, and resources to scale and grow your business alongside people who are going to help you get there.
If you want to find out more about how to run your small business like a CEO, you can read more of our blog posts and take our quiz!
This quiz, which I like to call the ‘Business Clarity Checkup,’ will give you clarity on your biggest business challenge and provide you with one clear customised step on how to fix it!
If you want to learn more about starting a business, you can hang around here for longer and check out my other blog posts or head over to my YouTube channel, where I post video versions of my blog posts for the world to see.
Watch the video of – How To Run Your Small Business Like A CEO – Part 1 – on YouTube.