Successful businesses are run by CEOs who have a distinctive mindset that propels themselves, their teams, and their companies to the top of their industry’s leader board. If you want to become the best CEO you can be, you must embrace and adopt a CEO mindset.
So, what do I mean by adopting a CEO mindset in your small business?
Well, believe it or not, there are 10 mindset rules you need to follow when running your own business. These 10 rules will help you to stay focused on what you need to do as the CEO entrepreneur of your business.
If you have hit a ceiling and your business is not scaling, there’s a very likely chance it’s because you haven’t followed these 10 rules. The good news is that you can still turn it around. By adopting these 10 rules, you will be on the fast-track lane to becoming a great CEO for your small business.
Okay, enough chit-chat, let’s get into the 10 rules for adopting a CEO mindset!
1. Decision not precision
We’re starting strong with decision, not precision. This means understanding that every decision you make in your business does not have to be 100% perfect. Rather, you should be more focused on making the right strategic decisions in a timely manner.
Strategy and timing are two of the most important things to consider when making decisions. As your business grows and you have more decisions to make, pause and take the time to think about how your decision will impact the business. Each decision could play out in different ways. Consider the best case, probable case, and worst-case scenario for each before resting on your final decision.
Remember that pausing before making a decision is completely fine. Of course, this doesn’t mean freezing altogether. You need to make decisions and sometimes, you may not have the time to pause and think about it. However, if you do have time to pause, do so and remember that your decisions don’t have to be perfect.
The world is far from perfect, so resist the temptation to put impossible standards on yourself. Give yourself the freedom to make timely and strategic decisions. Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t go according to plan. The decisions you make should guide your business strategically to where you want it to go. If a decision will steer you off that track, don’t do it. However, if it will bring you closer to your destination or goal your business, do it.
2. Top-down, not bottom-up
Focus on your business from the top-down, not bottom-up. One of the biggest mistakes that CEOs and entrepreneurs of small businesses make is remaining stuck inside their business. They are so focused on working in the business and looking at the daily tasks that need to be done, that they rarely take a moment to think about the future of the business.
Having a CEO mindset means being able to think ahead and plan where your business is going and how it’s going to get there. Working bottom-up leaves you open to distractions and getting lost in tasks that will not help push the business forward.
Instead of working bottom-up, you should work top-down. This means focusing on growing value in your business. To do that, you need to identify your final destination and think strategically about how the business will arrive at that destination three, five, or ten years down the line. Make sure that the tasks you do today are connected to the final destination. In other words, will that task bring you closer or further away from your end goal?
3. Relinquish control to take control
Let’s be honest… as entrepreneurs, we are complete control freaks. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but your inner control freak can have a tendency to step in when they aren’t needed (or wanted). We often want to do things our way and sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that nobody can do something as well as we can.
As much as we’d like to believe we’re the best of the best at everything we do, this mindset usually ends up working against us. We become our own bottleneck and we get in our own way of growing the business. If we’re not willing to relinquish some of that control, we will have a capacity issue.
There’s only so much one person can do within a business. You’ve got to delegate tasks and authority. Relinquishing control doesn’t mean you lose control of your business. In fact, by relinquishing control to other members of your team, you gain more control of the business because now you have time to focus on actually growing the business.
4. Strategy, plan, execute
Don’t set goals and make decisions without thinking things through. If you have a random idea or you want to jump onto something that’s trending, don’t! Giving in to shiny object syndrome will be your downfall. If you’re struggling with shiny object syndrome and want to find out how you can stop letting it destroy your productivity, check out my video/blog post – Shiny Object Syndrome.
Successful CEOs of small businesses don’t let trends or anything else distract them from their main focus, and neither can you. You need to think about your strategy first. This includes answering questions like:
- What is your final destination?
- How are you going to get there?
- What challenges could you face along the way?
- How will you approach those challenges and navigate through them?
Once you have thought about those things strategically, you need to create a plan. You can plan things out quarterly or yearly, whatever works for you. Your plan basically paves the way from where you are now to where you want your business to be in the future. With your plan created, you’re ready to execute by doing the things that will help move the needle. You must do these three things in order – strategize, plan, and then execute!
5. Budget, forecast, and ensure continuous cash flow
Ensuring your business has continuous cash flow is one of your main responsibilities as the CEO of your business. Without money, you don’t have a business. So, you need to stay on top of things to make sure you have enough cash in the bank.
You’ve also got to foresee possible forecasts for the business. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you buy a crystal ball and start telling the future. Instead, forecasting is about thinking ahead and coming up with a strategy for different areas of your business. If you want to grow your business, this involves considering how it would go if it played out one way over the other and more importantly, being prepared for either event.
If the word-case scenario were to happen, do you have enough cash in the bank to survive as a business? Building forecasting models is a great way to prepare for potential outcomes so that your business is prepared for anything.
Finally, don’t forget to budget! Set aside a budget for the upcoming quarter or even years ahead. Decide how much you will spend on marketing, building a team, developing products and services, and optimising systems and processes, etc.
You need to understand how much money you’ve got, and how it’s going to be spent. Create budgets and know how much you will spend in the right places so that you can continuously grow your business.
6. Delegate to increase capacity
Delegating and relinquishing control are two different things. You can delegate tasks while maintaining complete control. As the CEO of your business, you already have enough on your plate. So, why not delegate tasks to other people?
Before you start delegating though, you need to have the right systems and processes in place. If you don’t specify how you want tasks done, you’ll struggle to maintain consistent quality and standards across the business. Creating systems and processes for the tasks you want to delegate helps to main consistent quality and output. Everyone knows what they need to do and what standards they must meet.
Another reason why you must have systems and processes in place within your business is that everyone approaches things differently. Delegating tasks that have pre-set systems and processes helps to ensure completed tasks consistently meet your expected standards.
7. Simplify, measure, and optimise
One of the worst things you can do as the CEO of a small business is to overcomplicate things for other people. Keep things as simple as possible so that they can be repeated consistently. If you make things more complicated than they need to be, people will struggle to follow and they might end up taking shortcuts that sacrifice things like quality, consistency, and so on.
Optimising processes inside your business is key for scaling and continuing to grow. Plus, the more optimised things are inside the business, the less time and money you’ll waste as a result. I recommend following the KISS principle here (keep it simple, stupid). Try to simplify things in your business and measure the results. Understand what metrics you want to measure and keep track of the results to help identify what is working and what isn’t.
8. Manage risk but learn when things go wrong
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Things can and will go wrong but that doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel. Managing risk is the best way to prepare for when things don’t go according to plan.
You need to create a plan A, B, and even a plan C for when things go belly side up. Take time to really think about how you will react when things go wrong. At times like that, you should also look for opportunities to learn amidst the chaos. Ask yourself what you can learn from the situation so that it doesn’t happen again. And, consider if there is a way you can turn things around by transforming the ‘bad thing’ into an opportunity.
This is the type of mindset you need as the CEO of a small business. Learn from things that go wrong and look for opportunities to continue to grow and scale your business. To help prevent things from going really wrong, try your best to minimise risk as much as possible. Have a contingency plan in place so that when things do go wrong, you’re ready for it.
9. Create repeatable processes for when things go right
Things don’t always go wrong. I know, it was a shock to me too when I found out. But believe it or not, things do go right and when they do, you need to create a repeatable process for it.
Whenever something in your business goes right and works really well, create a repeatable process for it that can be replicated by you or anyone else in your business. Get really specific about the steps it took to generate the desired result and create an optimised and simplified process that can be repeated.
If possible, think about ways that you can simplify the process further. Is there a way that you can measure that this process will always generate the results you want? And, can you optimise it to generate even better results?
Once you have a process to help replicate results when things go right, you can continue to use it and optimise it to help fine-tune and improve the process as you go.
10. Patience and discipline NOT fear and greed
Growing a business takes time. Sometimes, it can be easy to get caught up in your emotions to a point where you’re running the business on those emotions.
Many businesses have failed catastrophically because the CEO let their emotions run the business. Fear that things will go wrong can really nibble away at your self-confidence and your confidence in your business. If you run your business out of fear or greed, you’re more likely to get paralysed when making important decisions. You might even avoid taking calculated risks too because you are so consumed with fear of failure.
As the CEO of your business, you must be able to take calculated risks without fear. If you have managed your risks properly, making strategic decisions shouldn’t paralyse you with unbreakable fear. You must be free to make calculated choices to help your business move forward.
Try to embrace a different mindset of patience and discipline. Scaling a successful business doesn’t happen overnight and you need to be patient. Sure, you may have heard about businesses that skyrocketed to success seemingly overnight. However, that success was probably 10 years in the making and the result of learning from past mistakes until they found the right path for them.
Building a business takes patience and you need to be disciplined. Not only that, but you also have to make sure you’re running on calculated guesses, not out of fear or greed.
And there you have it, the 10 rules for adopting a CEO mindset in your small business! I hope these rules help you to improve as the CEO entrepreneur of your business.
Is your mindset holding you back? It could be, or there could be a different reason to explain why your business has hit a glass ceiling. Discover the #1 problem that’s holding you back so that you can fix it and achieve your most ambitious goals by taking the Get Clarity Quiz!