When you hear the word “” a number of images probably flash before your eyes. Depending on your upbringing and experience, you’ll either see an enterprising young go-getter or smarmy old moneybags. But there is a middle ground to be found between Elon Musk and Donald Trump and being an entrepreneur is more about being a businessman, it’s about being a business leader that knows when to switch off before they burn out.
The early years
In the early years of any business, everything is fresh and exciting and everyone on board will have their fingers in a number of different pies. If a business isn’t moving, it’s shrinking, after all. However, as scaling occurs and the workforce expands, it makes sense for workers that once diversified by necessity to specialize in what they’re good at. Including you. This is what sets an entrepreneur apart. They know where their skills lie and they know when to step in and when to take a backseat.
According to Vistage chair Jo MacSween, it’s important to have the “honesty, humility and vulnerability to admit what you know and what you don’t know.” This means recognizing when it’s time to rely on others to help you develop new , take over daily activities and offer valuable insight.
In the first few years of a business, after that first loan has started to sink in and you’re starting to take stock, it’s typical for the business leader to be in charge of everything and that’s also something that requires entrepreneurial skills. This can also prove beneficial in certain areas. In recruitment, for example, entrepreneurs are generally very savvy when it comes to discovering great talent. However, nobody can build an empire alone and at a certain point, you’re going to need to step back from the hiring process.
Marketing is another sector that entrepreneurs often feel the need to gravitate towards and micromanage, but this is one area where it’s best to bring in expert help as soon as possible. A good marketer can identify new opportunities, find ways to generate quality leads and improve conversion rates. Marketing and sales are the key pillars of growth in any business and whilst you might be an expert salesman, it’s unlikely that you’re equally as adept as a marketer.
In a culture that puts such a high premium on individual achievements, it can be difficult for ‘super leader’ entrepreneurs to understand that the top-down,can hinder growth.
However, as the leader’s personal and professional lives begin to merge and they start to alienate everyone around them, the negative effects of taking on too much will eventually start filtering down into the rest of the company. If you can’t learn to know when to let go, you run the risk of flying too close to the sun and damaging both your business and your health.
Being a is all about building your brand and building your acumen and then knowing when to let go of it. Letting go is, of course, really about one thing – peace of mind. You need to be confident that your team can do the best job possible without you there to hold their hands. In an investigation into the challenges faced by most modern scale-up businesses, Vistage found that 46% of leaders their greatest challenge was finding a decent work/life balance. If you don’t learn to let go a little, that balance will only drift further and further until it becomes truly unobtainable.
So whilst is important because it engenders a better work ethic and better results, it’s also often a misunderstood term. Still, without them, the world would never move forward and it would be a much less exciting place.