The Role of the Business Owner – Enjoy It More

November 11, 2015 | Roger and Susie Engelau

Do you dislike many of the tasks you find yourself doing in the role of the business owner?[p]

You can create a more enjoyable role for yourself. And creating a more enjoyable for you can also be a big boost for the success of your business.[p]

In the role of the business owner, virtually every owner I coach is saddled with tasks he or she doesn’t want to do.  You got into the business because you loved what you were doing. Over time to make your business work you had to take on numerous other functions—accounts payables, business development, information technology—and somehow you find you’re in a job you hate. Coming to work is no longer fun. You question why you went into business in the first place.[p]

Take Jenny, an architectural design firm owner, struggling with all the tasks that everyone says the role of the business owner is supposed to entail. She was juggling business development with running day-to-day operations along with keeping the company’s financial books.  Her work life for the last couple of years left her frustrated and unhappy. My point to her was that she really needed to figure out what she wanted to do—what she enjoys and what she’s good at. It turned out that she loved project management, had organization skills and so was good at it. I encouraged her to focus a substantial amount of time on project management which, for her business, was a critical function.[p]

We identified which functions she disliked the most and began to look at other staff members to pick up the roles that she no longer wanted to carry. We found that the new bookkeeper/receptionist was really outgoing and had a good understanding of the customers’ needs. Turns out she loved business development and sales. The marketing person really enjoyed getting his hands dirty in the daily operations and was good at finding ways to improve processes. He’s now adding value and enjoying success as Jenny’s Operations Manager. She outsourced the majority of financial tasks. The result? She elevated the jobs, and the fulfillment, of 2 key staff members while making the role of the business owner more enjoyable for herself. The contribution of all three have escalated the business:  sales have increased, operational processes are improving, and project deadlines and outcomes have improved.[p]

Improve your satisfaction in the role of the business owner and other key roles

You can follow the process we followed: [p]

  • Start by listing all the tasks that need doing in your company then organize them into an organizational chart. Draw it by hand or use software; PowerPoint has 27 org chart templates.
  • Next figure out what your key people 1) are good at and 2) what they enjoy doing. We use the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (the MBTI). The MBTI gives a deeper look into personalities and preferences and who might fit into what role. In Jenny’s case and with many of my clients, we administer the MBTI to the owner and highest level team members.
  • Finally, adjust the roles on the org chart to fit the tasks that need to be done then fit the people into the roles. In other words, morph the initial roles you put on the org chart to match the skills and desires of your key people.[p]

View the initial org chart as a test. An org chart needs to be a dynamic tool instead of a chart that goes on the wall and has no meaning for anyone.  For example, maybe the business development position can start part time and grow into a full time position as it becomes established or maybe operations and finance can reside with the same person for now and be separated into 2 people later.  Your goal is to create the org chart that you think will work better than what you’re doing now. (You can create a future-focused org chart – but that’s for a separate blog post).[p]

In a manufacturing client, we did the MBTI with the management team and found that the Quality Manager had the profile and love for production. The Production Manager had been turning out some weak performance but was all about customer satisfaction and is now their successful Quoting Manager No one emerged as being good at sales nor did anyone express a desire to do it so we hired one from the outside.[p]

The role of the business owner doesn’t have to include laboring day in and day out performing tasks you hate. Carve out a role that you enjoy. You’ll be better at it and your business will be better for it.