Has Your Business Outgrown You?

Have you gotten away from the things that made you start your own business to begin with?

Every business goes through cycles and the cycles for a business in which a founder is also the CEO are specific ones. The founder of a business often has a specific skill set that propels him to start his own business. This can be an idea, an invention or a particular passion. As the business grows, quite often the founder / owner assumes the CEO role. This role however might be outside of the original skill set of the founder or even outside his interests. So how do you deal with that?

Last week I spoke with a friend of mine that is CEO of a business in which the owner is also active but not as CEO. The owner is the founder of the business and the driver behind some of the technical developments in their products which help grow the business. He is also the biggest hindrance to the growth of the company. Rather than just working on his passion for developing products, he also constantly interferes with decisions the CEO makes. This is highly disruptive in the organization and extremely demotivating to the CEO. The whole organization knows that if you want something and the CEO is against it, you can always check with the owner to see if you can get it from him anyway. The owner often changes decisions and directions without informing the CEO. Needless to say, the CEO is looking for other employment. When this CEO leaves, the owner will have to either hire another one or assume the role himself. God help that company.

So how can a private company be run with the owner not acting as the CEO? What structure or agreement will allow the company to prosper? The cornerstones are trust and acceptance. The owner needs to trust the CEO, accept his own limitations and accept that he is not the business. Trust that the CEO will run the business properly and has a better point of view. Accepting ones limitations is scary and liberating all at once but absolutely necessary. The owner has to see that he is great at certain things that are his passion and of vital importance to the business but acting as CEO is not one of them. Total acceptance of this is key. Only then can the CEO do his job properly without constant interference and second guessing by the owner. Only then can the business truly prosper and grow. The owner also need to understand that he is not the business and stop identifying with the business as if it was an extension of himself.

Do you own your own business? Are you the CEO? Are you enjoying it or are you wanting to get back to what you are passionate about to begin with? Let go of the reigns, completely. Hire a good CEO that is passionate about running and growing your business and will let you do what you are passionate about. This will make an unstoppable team. This is the formula for success and isn’t that what you want for your company? You’ll be amazed at what can be achieved.

With your success in mind,