By Em Huckstep, corporate drop-out turned online business expert.
If like me, you’ve always struggled with the term ‘small business’ then you’re about to find out why now is the time to shed that limiting label, and step into your newly empowered role as CEO – however big your company!
Why is the term ‘small business’ problematic? For many of us, when we think about why we start a business, it’s because we want to make an impact. But that impact can be limited, literally, when we keep referring to it as ‘little’ or ‘small’…. We talk ourselves out of pitching for big clients, or promoting ourselves to big media outlets. All because we’ve created a limit for ourselves by referring to our business as small.
Then, when we consider how we run our businesses, the reality is, you tend to wear more hats than most big CEOS when you’re running a smaller company: from marketing, sales, admin, recruitment, and tech to ops, finance, HR, and social media. There is a plethora of roles to balance. We do more, but we limit ourselves by saying we do less? Why?
We play small. Literally.
When you are a small business it can be hard to see yourself as a CEO. It feels like a big role. It feels much bigger than your small business, and yet this mindset shift can make a massive difference in how you as the owner show up, but also how you approach your work. Down the line, it will even impact how you run your team.
Here are 5 ways to step into your CEO role today and shed ‘small business’ mindset for good:
- Your mindset is everything when it comes to your success. However you measure success: money, time, freedom, notoriety..…. how much you get of it is determined by how much you believe it is possible for you. All of the wildly successful people out there – however you measure success – have one thing in common: a strong growth mindset. A growth mindset is focused on potential and possibilities. It’s the opposite of a fixed mindset which is rooted in self-doubt and insecurity. Start catching yourself when you downplay your ability or competency and speak about yourself and your business more seriously. Remind yourself you are more than capable of facing the challenges business brings, and focus on what’s possible for you, not what limits you.
- Treat your business as if it’s a big company. Even if you’re a team of one… start treating the way you run your business as if you have a team of 100. Create robust systems and processes that streamline your daily activities. This will make it easier to hire and onboard new team members down the line, but it will also make you look at your business from the inside and tweak points of weakness so you can get more done with your time. Set yourself a proper schedule, and have daily, weekly, and monthly non negotiables to keep your progress growing and flowing.
- Start pitching yourself to bigger clients than you usually would. To stop playing small, you have to literally start playing big. Who is a dream client or customer? What big brand would you love to collaborate with? Pitch yourself to bigger customers, clients, companies and watch how you change your approach. It might feel safe to only send your press releases to your local paper, but when you start pitching yourself to the businesses who inspire you – you’ll soon find yourself feeling way more confident.
- Take more risks, even if it’s scary. When we wear the label ‘small business’ or ‘side hustle’ it’s so easy to be risk averse. Because we’re so closely attached to our business. It’s an extension of you, right? Especially when you’re a personal brand. You are your biz, your biz is you. So risks feel personal. Because you’re making them personal. When you can detach your self worth from your businesses success, you become more open to the possibility that taking risks can bring. Growth, success, exposure. None come without some form of risk.
- Have better boundaries. When you can better identify where you end and your business begins, you’ll feel more in control and less personally attached to the highs and lows of your business. Have a separate work phone. Don’t check emails once you get home. Have days off. Simple things have a big impact. Building a successful business is not about how hard you hustle, it’s about the impact you’re making. And that’s hard to do when you’re constantly teetering on the brink of burn out which so often comes as a result of over hustling. Yes work hard, but also take a day off.
For you to truly move from small business to CEO, it’s all about taking yourself and your business more seriously. You got this.
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