Are You Running Your Business or is it Running You?

A great deal has been written about how to get yourself out of the hectic pace that a business can impose on you. Actually, there are literally millions of pages of advice on the subject, “How to run your business.” But what I would like to do is take a few steps backward and analyze why so many entrepreneurs are stressed out so much of the time, even when their businesses are running well. And actually, this applies to corporate executives as well. There are three main reasons:

  1. The business naturally consumes the owner because his bucks are on the line.
  2. There are often too few resources to hire a full suite of managers so the many tasks of management and services fall to the owner.
  3. After the business builds to the point it can afford to hire managers, many owners do not easily grant the needed authority to its managers and therefore drive away their best talent.

Over time, this cycle of growth, hire, fire, growth, hire, fire, perpetuates the perceived notion that he or she must maintain a strong hand on all aspects of the business. Ironically, this trap tends to deepen even as the company becomes more successful. Of course, many entrepreneurs figure this out and make the necessary adjustments. So even if you have been living with this severely negative management pattern you can always remedy your situation. Over 25 years we have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and chief executive officers of large corporations. Here are seven keys that we have learned while helping them build their companies:

Key #1: Determine what you are worst at and delegate it.

Key #2: Establish clear objectives that define what will be considered a success or failure.

Key #3: Reward the behavior that you would like to accomplish and make sure these metrics align with your clearly stated objectives.

Tom Marin is the managing partner of MarketCues.com and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

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