Starting a business takes grit, determination and an official LLC application.
You make the checklists, create the social media accounts and begin marketing yourself as a business owner. Contract? Check. IG Handle? Check. First paying client? Check.
What they don’t tell you is that your mindset also matters! And I’ll go out on a limb here and say it matters most of all!
When you think of a CEO what do you think of?
- Strategic thinkers
- Confident decision maker
They tend to know what they want and chase after it … yet they don’t do so with reckless abandon. They think things through, look outside for help when needed and run their business like a well-oiled machine. Do they make mistakes? Sure, they ARE human! But they tend to strategize a whole lot more than your every-day-employee and they’ve got a lot more riding on their shoulders – the entire company, in fact!
When it comes to our small business, we don’t always have a CEO mindset. We can quickly & easily get caught up in an employee mindset. An employee mindset is one that is focused on the single job at hand – we have on blinders, but not in a good way. We’re down in the trenches of our business; juggling the day-to-day operations and not always thinking (or having TIME to think) about the bigger picture!
An employee mindset is lethal for small businesses because we can spend more time working IN the business then ON the business. As the Bloguettes say: “…you end up with a slew of short-term plans & no business direction!”!
So, how do you shift your mindset? How can we view our small business from a CEO perspective?
Create time to plan
We know that we’ll never have more than 24 hours in the day – and we aren’t spending all of that time on our business. Our time is limited and therefore a hot commodity. Ever end the day feeling like you got nothing done… yet you put in an 8 hour day?!
If we aren’t careful, days, weeks & months can pass by in our business without us giving thought to what the future holds. Sure, you might daydream about where you want your business to go (I tend to think about my business dreams when I’m driving or even in the shower!). But if all you do is daydream without putting pen to paper and creating a PLAN to get there, they’re just DREAMS!
I suggest starting with bi-weekly “plan” days or blocks of time. Mark yourself as “busy” in your paper planner or Google Calendar so nothing sneaks in. Hold that time sacred – treat it just like you would a client meeting!! Use it to evaluate your long-term goals, quarterly goals and new ideas / dreams you’d like to accomplish.
Ask yourself: why am I saying yes?
An employee says “yes” to whatever lands on their desk; a CEO says “no” in order to have time for more important “yesses”!
As business owners, we have so many opportunities! It’s hard to figure out which direction we should take, especially when we say yes to everything! Before taking on that new project, writing that blog post or scheduling that meeting, ask yourself: why am I saying yes? Does this align with my ultimate goal(s) as a business owner?
Begin letting go
Did group projects make you cringe in school? Did you find yourself micromanaging every detail? That’s the mindset of an employee, not a CEO. CEO’s are able to let go of the reigns. They realize that they need OTHER people’s skills to grow their company; they can’t do it all!! In order to embrace a CEO mindset, you need to begin letting go of areas of your company. Maybe you start by outsourcing to a project management tool, then bring on an assistant. Don’t feel like you have to hire a slew of people all at once – start small and build. But delegation and letting go will be key!! (Interested in building a team? Read these two articles for tips here and here.
All in all, having a CEO mindset might not come naturally to some of us – but it’s absolutely necessary for our small business!! I encourage you to start thinking practically about addressing your CEO mindset. Overwhelmed with what to do first? Pull out your calendar (or open that tab in your browser!) and block off a day this month you can focus on future planning. It will make a world of difference!