How To Evolve from Owner to Executive

These 3 elements help you make the transition as your company grows -- QUICK TIPS from GreenMark Consulting Group

As your company grows, it can be hard to understand the transition from simply telling people what to do, to managing group results. Your early success as a company owner is based on your ability to direct and control work. Once you have several crews, your success is based on the ability to change how work is controlled to fit the situation.

There are three key elements to making the transition from “owner” to “executive”.

1. Your Legacy

All of us have different motives for starting a business, but it always starts with an idea or dream seeking reality. Starting a new business is an act of creation – it doesn’t exist until you make it so. Since you are the creator, it is critical to determine your long-term plan. What must this business achieve to be successful, and how are you going to be compensated for years of sacrifice and investment?

How you build the company and especially where you invest must be driven by how the company will be valued. The place to start is to find a business broker and explain you are looking for a long-term relationship. When you decide to sell the business, they will have the right of first refusal. It is critical to understand how the sale price is computed so you can understand where to make the growth investments. This is the basis of your long-term strategy.

GreenMark Consulting Group has several tools that will help you create a Vision and Mission Statement. That process will help you define where the business is headed and document your end game, or your legacy. Additionally, GreenMark can provide a list of questions to help you select a Business Broker you can trust.

2. Managing Your Day

As an entrepreneur and business owner, nobody owns your time. How the day is spent is totally your choice, no matter how chaotic it appears. Every time you say yes to something means you are saying no to something else. Are you happy with those choices? If you plan the day, how well are you sticking to those plans? If you don’t plan the day, why aren’t you?

Start a written management diary, and keep it in front of you throughout the day. Every study of effective executives found they were obsessive about time. These executives didn’t just create task lists. Each task was assigned a time for completion by focusing on minutes, not hours or days. This drove the executives to achieve more every hour than their competitors.

GreenMark Consulting has an Executive Diary tool you can download and print. It is a great place to start. It’s important to start with clarity on your end game and then build a self-management system that ensures your undivided attention on the most critical items. From there you can evaluate how you are leading and managing, and also determine what adjustments may be needed at your next stage of growth.

3. Changing How You Control

There are several common failure points for small business owners. One is called the Founder Trap. Why is this called that? Because what made you successful in your early days as a smaller company is no longer a strength once you’ve grown. In fact, it has become an obstacle to growth. This begs the question: How do I get out of my own way and take the business to the next level?

There is a very simple model for understanding what each stage of growth demands from the owner and their management team:

Stages 1 and 2 – control is by the owner directly supervising how work is done.

Stages 3 and 4 – control is by the owner supervising managers on how they manage their processes.

Stage 5 – control is by the owner supervising managers on their achievement of results.

This article is the result of 5 start-ups, 2 turnarounds, and 15 years helping owners grow their businesses. The Founder Trap is one of 3 failure points that prematurely kills small businesses because the owner cannot make the transition from directing to managing results. It is part of GreenMark Consulting Group's unique three-pronged approach to coaching for landscape/snow companies of all shapes and sizes from around the country. Regardless of which phase your company is going through, GreenMark's offering of Business Toolkits & Virtual Coaching, Live Business Bootcamp Workshops, and Deep-Dive One-on-One Consulting can provide the insights and direction your company needs to thrive. Email GreenMark's Steven Cohen scohen@greenmarkgroup.com to learn more. With 25 years of landscape/snow industry experience, he's eager to speak with you.

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