At the start of every venture, it’s just you, a dream and perhaps some supportive family or friends. Even joint ventures require you to work separately at the start, forming a plan and then executing together.
Then things go well – amazingly well – and suddenly you’re looking through applicants to try to find someone to join your team, looking at “For Sale” boards for your next office or retail location, and having to wear a lot of different hats.
Scaling yourself along with your business is about approaching things with a different mindset. We’ll explore several ways to rethink yourself as the leader, rather than just a worker, of your business.
1. Change From an “I” Mindset to a “We” Mindset
It’s about making your business look bigger than it really is, and language plays a large part in setting mindsets. Seeming bigger than you are to your customers starts with changing your words from “I” to “we”.
So the next time you’re writing an email, or sending out an invoice, use “we”: “We will be starting work on your property at …” or “We can assist you at our studio …”
Using “we” helps include your staff, your brand and yourself. This can help customers believe that you’re part of a bigger picture, a part of a bigger team, and that this team has their best intentions at heart.
Even if you’re a local business, using “we” helps establish trust. It makes it seem like you’re part of a community, and the experience of many outweighs the experience of one.
“Management is bottom-line focused: how can I accomplish certain things? Leadership deals with the top line: what are the things I want to accomplish?”
2. Become Your Business’s Inspiration
Great leaders don’t order – they inspire.
When your staff are inspired and passionate about the job they do, they’ll create a more positive experience for your customers.
This, of course, begins with you. Your passion is what led you to start your business in the first place, so pass on some of that passion to your staff.
Show them that you’re a leader worth working for. Communicate your broader vision with them so they understand why things are being done the way they are.
And don’t stifle their creativity. Take their ideas into consideration – after all, they’re the ones engaging with your customers on a regular basis.
3. Time to Delegate
Last but not least – be prepared to delegate.
Your business is your baby, of course, but no business can grow bigger if it relies on a single person to do all the work.
At some point, you need to trust your staff, your teams and yourself to carry on the work. If you’ve established well thought-out employee management processes, then trust that they’re going to work.
It’s scary to let go of the thing you’ve worked on for so long, but one person can’t be in all places at once. Being prepared to delegate important work can help you free up some time. Who knows – it might even help you expand to another city, another state, even another country.
To put it simply, “Management is bottom-line focused: how can I accomplish certain things? Leadership deals with the top line: what are the things I want to accomplish?”
4. Think About the Broader Experience
So you’ve changed your language to encompass your entire business, now it’s time to think about the bigger picture.
When you were a solopreneur you would focus your work on the experience you were giving to your customer. It would be coming from one source – you – and that naturally meant you could control it.
When things get bigger, so too does that experience. You will still want to make sure you’re giving your customers the best experience they can have with your business. The difference now is that it’s more than just you.
Start thinking about the end-to-end experience your customers are going to have not just with you and your employees, but your entire brand.
The best thing you can do is create positive brand recall. That means when someone sees your brand, they feel positively about it.
So think about how a customer begins their journey – whether that’s from a website, a phone call or a referral – and then how they end it – an invoice, a receipt, a follow-up text message.
Along the way, at each point that the customer is interacting with your brand and your business, ensure you’re giving that customer a positive experience, and train your staff to deliver it accordingly.