Are you thinking like a Business Owner or Employee?

Your goal as owner is to design and shape a business that serves you .


Many business owners I meet still seem to have an employee mentality. As a business owner, you should be working “on” the business, not so much “in” the business.  You should be focusing on your company’s purpose, direction, strategy, structure, systems, people, goals, and accountability processes.

Your goal as owner is to design and shape a business that serves you and works independently from you — a business that is systems-dependent and not owner-dependent. You want a business that runs nearly on autopilot and churns out cash.  Instead of shuffling papers or doing the bookkeeping, spend your time trying to make your company different, better, more profitable and more systems-oriented. Like a business architect, try to shape your business to satisfy your vision, dreams and needs.

Perhaps it’s time to remind yourself of why you started your business.

  • More freedom
  • Could do it better than your old boss
  • Financial security
  • Choice
  • Work life balance
  • Because you didn’t just want a job!

The reality often looks like this…

  • Stressed out and working long hours
  • Lowest paid in the business
  • Feeling guilty when not there
  • No freedom
  • No business growth
  • Doing work that doesn’t add value or you don’t enjoy
  • Fire fighting!

To gain greater freedom, fulfilment and financial success, you must function as a leader instead of an employee. As a leader, you need to be more strategic, long-term focused and less tactical/technical, day-to-day fixated. If you don’t focus on the entire business, no one else will.  It will just drift or run aground.  So how do you stop thinking and acting like an employee or technician?

All too often business owners undervalue their worth and do tasks that others in your team could do. So try this exercise below.


Write out all the things you do but put them in boxes of skill level high to low and value to the business high to low.

Some business owners can earn the business £1000’s an hour when they are out meeting customers or strategically working on the business. they choose to do administrative tasks that they could outsource for £10 an hour or give to the team rather than the tasks that make the business more profitable. And that’s crazy!

Sometimes we need to stop and look where we add value and what we need to do more of. Some of the tasks you do you need to stop altogether. Don’t feel guilty about leaving your team to it while you grow the business, after all that’s why you have a team around you!

  • Instead of creating to-do lists, start creating a not-to-do list for you and let go of small things. Eliminate or delegate the 80% of your activities that produce little impact for your business. Share these not-to-do lists with your team. Put them on notice that you are getting out of the daily detail (usually their areas of responsibility) and starting to see and influence the big picture.
  • Quit trying to manage details and start managing your people. Guide their focus and priorities, but let them do the work.
  • Schedule time to think and plan. You must think deeply about important, strategic matters.  Make time to get away from the day-to-day distractions and focus on deep thinking, planning, and decision-making. Isolate yourself to concentrate on big-picture issues. Spend time alone digesting all the information you are bombarded with and develop the big ideas to take your business to the next level of performance. Once a month, schedule a day away from the office to think and plan. With no distractions whatsoever, put on your ‘business owners hat’ and spend time reviewing and improving your chief asset – your business.
  • On a daily basis, reserve the vast bulk of the day to tackle only your top 3 priorities. Selfishly guard your time and focus. Don’t allow your employees to disrupt your business owner-oriented priorities and actions with countless got-a-minute interruptions. Allowing such conduct creates an environment whereby your time is not valued and respected. It also creates unproductive days, a reactive business mindset and employees that are overly dependent upon you for everything.  Stop these got-a-minute interruptions.
  • Whatever your technical expertise, consider hiring someone else to handle such technical and tactical work so that you can escape the stranglehold. For example, if your background is selling or accounting, hire a competent sales manager or accounting manager to manage such day-to-day details. If you already have such employees on your payroll, then for goodness sakes let them do their jobs. Get out of their zone of responsibility.

It’s time to fall back in love with your business and start thinking like a business owner focused on adding value and not being drawn into the business for the sake of saving a wage.

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