May 1, 2019

Get Out of the Trenches Once in a While


Every small business owner encounters this problem at some point: when to become a CEO and get out of the trenches.

When you start a business, it's generally because you have some technical skills or knowledge that gives you an edge and allows you to bring value to clients. If you're good enough at what you do, or can hire the right people to keep delivering this value, your business will grow.

At some point though, there's a transition point. It's tough to spot. It sometimes passes us by in the day to day. But it's important to mark. It's the moment when you climb out of the trenches and start building your company instead of your client base.

The reason why many business owners don't see the transition point is the forest - tree problem. You've got to get the work done and it's in front of you. That's the trees. The business is the forest. It's really the reason that we're all here, but when the trees are whipping past your head at an every increasing rate, it can be tricky to slow down just a moment and get above it all.

In terms of efficiency (and stress relief), taking the time to get out of the trenches even once a week, once a month or once a quarter, will become increasingly important. It helps businesses reset, see where gaps are growing, and give you the resolve to keep powering through the lean times.

If you find yourself buried deep and realize that you haven't come up for air for a while, set a day in your calendar to take a look at the internal health of your business. Are your employees thriving? Are you taking advantage of opportunities for change and disruption? Does your vision and mission statement still keep you motivated and on track? How long has it been since you looked at your marketing, reached out to old clients or took a look at your goals?

Small business ownership is a tough job, but don't forget that being a business owner is a job in itself that needs your attention. Take a step back and see how your forest is coming along.

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