In working with business owners ready to scale their business, I tend to see a common factor with those that are on the precipice of really exploding their business.
They tend to be really good at getting things done. They are really good about keeping their commitments for their business - to a fault. And they are about three seconds away from burnout. Or have already hit burnout., probably at least once.
The thing is, really successful business owners have what it takes to get to this amazing spot in their business where the income potential is rapidly increasing, but at the same time, they are also at the point where they are the direct reason their business is stunted in growth.
The thing is, what got them to that point - the commitment level, the perfectionism, the willingness to do the work - will also keep them there if they aren't careful. They will always be on the precipice of exploding, but their next level will always be hampered by their bandwidth.
Because they are used to doing it all. And have a really hard time letting go of even just one ball they are furiously juggling.
The theory in business is that the team that got the business through the startup phase will probably not be the one that carries it through the "actual company" phase. At some point, the founder has to leave and the CEO has to step in.
Literally or figuratively.
If you are used to being a founder, then you will definitely have to work on shifting your mindset to CEO. And if you can't, then you will need to bring in a CEO.
If you are looking to be the CEO of your company, then there is some major work you have to do on your mindset to ensure that you can lead your company through the next phase.
A big portion of this is understanding the time investments of the commitments that you make. This is both professionally and personally. Any commitment you make has some time investment attached to it, and actually blocking this on your calendar helps you see that your time is spoken for.
This is also important when you are weighing each additional commitment that comes your way. It also helps you say no much easier. When you realize that your prior commitments are already accounted for in your time, so you literally can't do another thing without breaking a current commitment.
For those that live and die by their calendar (um, me) seeing what checks my mouth has written definitely puts taking on new clients or saying yes to new opportunities in perspective. Especially when I want to keep to a 15 hour week schedule for my business.
The easiest way to do this is to actually block out time on your calendar to do the things you promised you would do. Warning: your calendar will get ugly quite quickly. You may not have to do this forever, but this is a perfect exercise for you to understand the enormity of your commitments.
The first thing to do is to block your business calendar for times that you won't be working. This should include weekends and holidays, lunch + break times, and also times that you know you won't be working. My daughter's preschool class is prominently blocked on my calendar, as is log in times for my other kids' after school zoom classes + music lessons. I don't block weekends, as I am much better about those boundaries, but I do block school holidays for the most part.
If you have a habit of not taking lunch, then you need to block that time in your calendar as "busy" as well. Daily calls to friends or parents should also be set aside in your calendar, as well as when you start dinner or simply log out for the day. Google calendar has a great feature called out of office where it automatically rejects appointment requests for those times, if you tend to get requests instead of using a scheduler.
Then, once you have your personal time blocked, start looking at time outside client or team meetings and figure out when you are going to consistently work on your business - with business building or administrative activities. I say that you should usually plan for 20% of your work time to be devoted to non-income producing activities.
Then, start looking at your work plans - what you committed to working on for clients or producing in your business. Block (using the busy feature) that time in your calendar as when you are actually going to work on all those things. You might have to build in some time for discovery calls or replying to inquiries, so that you can continue bringing in clients/work during that time - obviously as free time so your scheduler shows it as available.
What you will see with this exercise is that your calendar is probably pretty dang full. While that may freak you out a tiny bit, it might also be a powerful reminder that you need to be careful about the next things you say yes to.
This means you may start being more choosy with new clients, raise your rates, or otherwise just think twice before you say yes to ANYTHING else. It might also drive home that some of the things that you are currently saying yes to are probably best handled by someone else.
Like if your bookkeeping takes way too long, you might just break down and hire that bookkeeper. If you are doing way too much admin, might be time to bring in an admin. And if your clients are just taking too long to reach their outcomes - you need to retool your offerings or hire on help.
Whatever that looks like, having a clear understanding of what you are doing and what you committed to is the first step in making those decisions.
If you are looking for more support in embarking on the next phase of your business, let's talk. The Growth Accelerator
is designed to help you step into the CEO role in your business.