It’s one of those statements you’ve likely heard at different points throughout your life. And if you’re a business owner you’ve either uttered those words or certainly thought about it a lot. It truly is lonely at the top. So what does this mean and why is it so lonely when you’re running your small business?
Staying focused can be a problem in regular life, not to mention your business life. One of the things we provide for our coaching clients is a framework to help them know “what” they should be focusing on which is our 7 Keys to Success. But that doesn’t explain “how” they can stay focused. After all, don’t we all battle some demons when it comes to staying focused?
This is one of those questions that circles around an owner’s mind quite often. Not only how often should I be in the office but for how long? Should the boss be the first in and last to leave? Or should the boss only show up whenever it’s convenient? Or somewhere in between? How about as little as possible? The short answer is, it depends!
So here we are in the middle of summer and it’s prime time for summer vacations. Are you excited about your upcoming vacation? Unfortunately, too many business owners either aren’t looking forward to their upcoming vacation or they don’t have one planned. It doesn’t have to be this way.
We recently met a husband and wife who have owned and worked together in a business for nearly three decades. They were exploring the possibility of selling their business and retiring. When we asked them what they were going to do after they sold the business they both had a sheepish grin and said they were going to “relax and enjoy life.” They want to do a little traveling and spend time with the grandkids, but the basic driver is to get relief from the day-to-day running of the business.
One of the things that folks in a leadership position wrestle with is the idea of being in control. We will often hear business owners talk about how they are accused of being micromanagers. This can result in team members not feeling confident or empowered to make many of the day-to-day decisions in running the business and instead will wait for the owner to step in to decide what to do. This can be one of the biggest limiting factors for you and your business’s success.
Many business owners are looking for help. Oftentimes they are looking in all the wrong places. It usually starts with friends and family. Most of these friends and family are well intentioned, but many can’t relate to the challenges of owning and running a small business as they’ve never done it successfully themselves. Or perhaps they have had some success in running a small business, but that doesn’t mean they can help or teach you.
Meetings often get a bad rap…and for good reason. Some of the most common problems we find are:
• There is no agenda (or the agenda isn’t followed)
• 1 or 2 people dominate
• Meeting doesn’t stay on time
• No one is in charge
One of the toughest decisions for many business owners is deciding when it’s time to get rid of someone. That “someone” could be an employee, contractor, customer, or even a vendor. One of the things we love most about small business is that it allows for a heart whereas big business usually comes down to a number.
So who’s in charge here? This is one of the first questions we ask when meeting with business partners. The initial response is usually something like, “we both are” or “we all are.” We and you know that isn’t the case. Someone is setting the priorities for the business.