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Should You Lead the Company You Started?

Should You Lead the Company You Started?
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This story appears in the June 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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Q: Am I the right leader for my startup?

A: They’re creative visionaries, sure, but not all entrepreneurs are equipped to run the companies they start. Randy Nelson, author of The Second Decision: The Qualified Entrepreneur, suggests this three-step approach to deciding whether or not you should stay at the helm of your company.

1. Surround yourself with independent advisors. Nelson, who sold two businesses he founded, says he relied on CEO peer groups for input. The goal is to better assess your own strengths and weaknesses. 

2. Acknowledge your shortcomings, then act on them. “By becoming more self-aware,” Nelson says, “that’s saying to yourself, ‘I want to improve.’” He calls this step the transition from “I don’t know what I don’t know” to “I know what I don’t know.” 

3. Examine your motivation. At this point entrepreneurs know what needs to be done and can gauge not just their own ability, but their willingness. “Once you know all that,” Nelson says, “the third step is: Do I really want to do this?” Maybe it’s time to move on to something new. 

Edition: May 2017

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