Autonomy

Want a great business? One that will thrive for generations? Allow autonomy. Jason Cohen, founder of WPEngine, said at a recent talk he gave (quoting someone else), "Approval doesn't add value." Most entrepreneurs don't allow autonomy in their business. They institute monarchical-like approval processes for even the smallest of tasks. They are too scared of loss that they won't even consider developing checks and balances systems in their business so that employees can run the company. They are too scared to trust people they've hired. Maybe they know they've hired the wrong people to run their company. Maybe they hired…

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How To Unbottleneck Your Business

  Sole Driver Syndrome Personal productivity is first and foremost concerned with efficiency: how to get more done within the time you have. Entrepreneurs have a strong affinity to personal productivity, some even becoming devoted fans of the book Getting Things Done by David Allen.  One of the side effects of this devotion to personal productivity I’ve seen with entrepreneurs in the startup phase or stage 1 of their business is that they hire to increase their own productivity instead of the productivity of the company. Entrepreneurs mistakenly assume that they are the main, or even sole, driver of activity…

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Salespeople Have A Thermostat

If a salesperson has been getting a commission of approximately $50,000, then he/she won't make much more than that next year. The good thing for entrepreneurs is that the salesperson is unlikely to sell less the next year. Earning Temperature Think about the thermostat that controls the temperature in your home. If you set the thermostat for 70℉/21℃ in the winter, then anytime the temperature goes a degree below 70 degrees, the furnace will turn on and warm up your home. It doesn't heat to 70 degrees and then stop. It heats your home to a degree or two above…

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Do You Prevent Your Business From Accelerating?

Self-Imposed Speed Limits When I left the military and moved across the country, I rented a Uhaul truck to move all my stuff. The super-frustrating thing about this truck was that it had a governor installed. An accelerator governor prevents the vehicle from going faster than a pre-determined speed. The national speed limit was 65 miles per hour, but the governor was locked at 60 mph (96.5 kph). Many business owners install governors in their business. Not just one, but many. My friend, Dan Andrews, recently published a post that is a good example of installing a governor -- something that…

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Why Is Hiring So Frickin’ Hard?

This is a raw sample chapter for my upcoming book, Leader: The CEO Manual For Entrepreneurs. Hire For Your Core "What job(s) should I hire for first (next)?" I'll attempt to explain why that question is so difficult to answer for founders and how to solve it. Here are several of the key issues I see with my clients: competing priorities unclear vision for the company / vague plan no or little money (more a perception than reality) hiring is emotional unsure of which positions will improve the company belief that hiring equals more work for themselves Hiring Equals More…

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Are You Failing Your Team?

If you're not investing in your team's growth, then you are failing them and your company. I've got a client who is a really nice guy. Cares for people.  He's generous with his time and money for family, friends and charitable causes. But he gives very little of his time or money to improve his team -- including his key employees. Before working with me, he couldn't see this behavior as a problem. Matter of fact, he was oblivious to his non-action. His business is doing really well even though he feels he gets mediocre work from his team. I…

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Tool: How To Delegate

Having worked with clients to turn them into the leader of their company, one stumbling block I found was that they didn't know how to delegate. Sure they assigned work to their employees and contractors.  That's delegation, right? Not really. They were abdicating. They handed the work over to their team and then promptly forgot about it.  Then days, weeks or even months go by and they remember the assignment and ask about it.  Or the team member brings back the completed work only for the entrepreneur to be furious at the quality or that it wasn't anything like what they…

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Trust But Verify 

Entrepreneurs love to talk about scaling their business. They love to talk about growth. The problem is they also believe that the existence of their company is dependent upon them.  Without them this company would whither and die. In the beginning, that’s true.  They took an idea and manifested it into reality.  Then they had to nurture it for some time before it proved it could live on. The problem comes with the time span between when an idea is first brought into reality and when it is successful enough to live on.  The longer that takes, the more the…

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Hiring For Your First Management Team (Who They Are & How To Afford Them)

In the self-funded world, there is a pervasive and popular idea that when you start a company, your first hires should be for administrative tasks. Popular advice essentially says to delegate the little tasks that you hate doing to focus on the “big picture”. The most common way for you to get rid of these tasks (according to this advice) is to hire a virtual assistant. The tasks could include data entry, data mining, email answering, content creation, calendar management, and a host of other things that you’d probably like to get off your plate. It’s sounds good, but it’s…

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Why Entrepreneurs Shouldn’t Be Making SOPs

Here is a taste of what I'm posting in my private entrepreneurship group: The Forge The Forge is for founders who want to mold a life along with forging their business. It's more raw than what I post to the public here. Join if you can handle the flames of The Forge. ***WHY ENTREPRENEURS SHOULDN'T BE MAKING SOPs*** I've been trying to lay out a convincing argument that the founder of a company is wasting precious resources personally making standard operating procedures. I'll put my argument here as best I can... If your business is under $1 million in revenue…

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