I received a lot of feedback regarding my recent column, Entrepreneurial ADD.
Many people personally identified with the information; some even said, “That’s me!”
Entrepreneurs that begin and build their own companies are usually innovative, creative and risk-takers — all the positive attributes of ADD. In fact, it’s not uncommon that some may actually be on the ADD spectrum.
Wikipedia defines an entrepreneur as “a person who has possession of a new enterprise, venture or idea and assumes significant accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome.”
These characteristics are integral to starting your own business. However, those entrepreneurs with a passion for new ideas, plus the inability to remain focused over the long term, will find it challenging to stay engaged.
If you’ve become bored and unmotivated, or feel that you’ve plateaued, these are all good indications that you’re not putting your greatest strengths to good use. It could be time for you to get out of your own way in order to benefit everyone, including yourself.
A true entrepreneur knows that acting as manager in their own operation is not productive and, in many cases, can even be detrimental to business success.
A company suffering lagging sales might be led by an owner who is not a great sales person. The company can lose focus and direction because the owner/manager is chasing after every new idea and market trend.
Recognizing that you’re not the perfect manager, sales person, or marketing director isn’t bad. It can even be liberating, and possibly the best thing for the business.
It’s probably a good time to assess the options and opportunities that are in the best interest of your company and your personal situation.
If business is thriving and your goal is not to sell but to maintain the business, then it’s time to look for potential managers to put in place. This process takes time and extensive planning.
Ideally, your business has systems in place and a trusted team running the operation. Look within your company for that one person or even a group of people that can assume the leadership of the company and run it long term.
You may have team members who have worked with you for years and who currently lead their various divisions or areas. With mentorship and training, promoting internally may be the best solution for your company.
Unless you’re in a situation where you have no other choice, a decision to make a quick exit from the company can have radical consequences.
Drastic change creates upheaval for employees and customers. If someone totally new is brought on with little knowledge of your business, there is a risk that this option will cause employees and business to leave.
Promoting/appointing a family member as manager can be a viable option if the succession plan is well developed. If not, there will be perceptions of nepotism and resentment among employees will build. The person tapped to lead after you’ve left must be perceived to have “paid their dues.”
The shift from one generation to another can create envy and resentment, which leads to major problems that some companies can never overcome.
Matching skill sets with the high standards of a founder is usually difficult. Be sure to develop a “dashboard” that summarizes what you need to know and when to be involved in the future, if at all.
If there isn’t any management capability on your team, then you must recruit for the position. It’s critical to review your company and personal goals before beginning the process, to ensure you are looking for the right person and skill sets required to lead your team in the future.
Gather input from your business advisers — accountants, lawyers and trusted mentors — when considering options and evaluating your exit plan. Give your team the opportunity to offer their unique perspectives. And always give serious consideration to the impact your decision will have on family members.
You had the great idea, the brilliant innovation or the breakthrough product. But knowing that you’ve taken the business as far as you can is a breakthrough.
It may be time to get out of the way and let a new team of professionals take over. True entrepreneurs realize trading time for money is not the way to become wealthy.
It may be time to move on, to start your next business venture, because entrepreneurship is what you do best.
ActionCoach is written by John MacKenzie of ActionCoach, which helps small- to medium-sized businesses and other organizations. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 403-340-0880.