There comes a time as a business owner when you quickly realise that you have to step into a leadership role if you want to grow a profitable and sustainable business.
The excitement of starting a business can soon be replaced by overwhelm when you realise that you are literally wearing all the hats and trying to juggle multiple roles – marketing, sales, design, customer service etc. but a role that is often overlooked is the role as the leader and CEO of your business, and this is the most important.
When you feel overwhelmed it’s natural to start searching for shortcuts to make everything feel ‘easier’.
The problem is that the online space is very noisy and so what happens is you hear all the different ways you ‘should’ be running your business and what you need to do to see the success you want.
You exhaust yourself trying to implement all the ideas and this only leads to frustration and disappointment when you don’t see your business moving forward.
When you step into your role as the leader and CEO of your business you will feel more in control of your business and make decisions from a place of clarity and confidence.
So, what does it mean to be the leader of your business? It means you look at the big picture, you hold the vision and you ensure the business is moving towards that big picture vision.
You trust that the decisions you are making are the right ones for your business and are aligned with your strengths, values and personality.
You understand all the different pillars in your business and see how they all fit together.
You intentionally choose the strategy and tactics based on what it is you’re trying to achieve.
You will know exactly how to follow-through on your goals, you spend your days working on the right things and feel accomplished at the end of each day and feel fulfilled by the work you are doing.
Here are 3 tips to help you build your identity as the leader and CEO of your business:
1. Solid foundations
It can be easy to get swept up in the online narrative of building a six or seven figure business and the shady tactics that are often taught to get you there.
I know I certainly struggled with this when I first started my business. I left my well paid corporate job to have more flexibility with my time so that I could spend it with my young family – the time was what I wanted more than the money. But I soon felt like I ‘should’ want more and the extra pressure started. Can you relate?
It is vital that you decide what success means to you, so that you can shut out the noise and keep focused on your vision.
If you feel yourself getting off track then come back to why you started your business, this will keep you grounded and you’ll be less likely to follow a path that doesn’t feel right for you.
In addition to being clear on your vision and why you started your business, it really helps to define your business values. Start with 3 core values that will act as your compass and inform all the decisions you make in your business.
When you get really clear on these foundational elements you can be sure that the business you are building is one that you actually want and supports the lifestyle you want.
2. Work ‘ON’ your business (not just in it)
As your business grows it is essential that you continue to make time to work on your business. This can sometimes feel hard especially when you have client work taking up the majority of your time but it will be impossible to grow your business if you aren’t thinking strategically about what you are doing and where you are headed.
So this means having clear goals for what you are trying to achieve and having the plan to support those goals.
When you have a million ideas all floating around in your head it’s easy to become overwhelmed and flit from one idea to the next.
Jumping from one thing to the next means that you never really build momentum because you never give your ideas enough time to flourish.
When you make a plan of how you are going to get from where you are now to where you want to be, you can spend your time on the tasks that you know are going to make the biggest difference to your growth.
In order to do this, you have to prioritise strategic thinking time as part of your weekly schedule.
On a Sunday afternoon or first thing on a Monday morning, have a planning session for the week ahead. I have a leadership meeting with myself every Monday morning where I review and plan my week.
Doing this will allow you to measure what is and isn’t working so that you can optimise the things that are working.
It will also ensure that you are intentional and strategic about how you spend your time by prioritising the core areas that will keep your business moving forward i.e. marketing and daily lead generation.
Once you know what your priorities are, it’s important to then look at your calendar and schedule exactly when you are going to get your most important work done.
3. Shift your identity
Starting and running your own business is one of the greatest personal growth journeys you can go on and it can certainly feel like an emotional rollercoaster most days.
And this growth is something to embrace, even when it feels uncomfortable.
Shifting your identity to being the leader and CEO of your business starts with being self-aware.
When you think of yourself as the CEO of your business, how does she think and act?
Is she proactive or reactive?
Is she confident in her decisions or does she constantly second-guess herself?
Is she disciplined or does she rely on motivation to get things done?
Is she spending her time working on her most important work or is she endlessly scrolling Instagram?
Are your current habits supporting this version of yourself?
In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about how “every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”
So start voting for your future self and ask “what action can I take this week that my future self will be grateful for?”
You have power to make choices. Intentional and strategic choices about what you’re going to do and what you’re not going to do.
So start saying no to the things that aren’t important to you.
Know yourself and know when to rest, your business will thank you for it.
You set out to build a business and a life you love, not to spend your time reacting to the day to day busywork and your endless to-do list, constantly feeling stressed by all the things you need to do to make your business a success.
Being successful in business is about working smarter, not harder. And it begins by stepping into your role as the leader and CEO of your business.