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How Should I Define My Role in My Business?

My small business has grown to the point where I'd like to hire a manager to handle the day-to-day operations. What I'm not sure about is what comes next. Once I hire a manager, what role should I take as the business owner?

In the heady heydays of a small business’s beginnings, finances often dictate that the owner be a jack-of-all-trades, taking on everything from closing the clients to crafting the company logo. But as a business expands, that way of working becomes impractical.

The good news is that your company seems to have grown to the point where you are ready to hire someone who can work "in" the business on a day-to-day basis, giving you the opportunity to work "on" the business -- and that’s really where your new role lies. Working "on" your business means several things.

It means getting out of the weeds and taking a step back to think about the bigger picture of your company, where you want it to go and the strategy that can take you there. The creation, refinement, implementation and management of this strategy -- including getting buy-in from your staff -- will become a major part of how you spend your time.

You can also expect to expand your role in identifying and pursuing new business opportunities that you were too busy to take on previously. With someone else handling the day-to-day operational side of things, you’re free to set up more exploratory meetings with clients, attend additional conferences and put effort into business development in order to determine where the next big idea for your company might come from.

Lastly, your new role will allow you to spend more of your time being a mentor to your staff. With this other person on board, you can make larger, more consistent blocks of time available to help train, educate and develop the members of your team.

If all of the above makes it sound like you’re going from a hands-on leader to a soft-skills supervisor, don't worry -- you’re not. The biggest shift in your role that you need to get a grip on is the mental one. Remember: Your job is going from working "in" the business to working "on" the business -- and that’s the path to growing yourself and your company to the next level.

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