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How to move from technician to entrepreneur

Written by Jack Delosa
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As a founder-entrepreneur, do you find yourself doing things that you’re not good at, you don’t enjoy, and that aren’t your highest and best use?

It’s not uncommon to find Founders and CEOs buried in spreadsheets, managing cash flows, writing systems, setting up complicated CRMs and putting out fires day after day.

This behaviour is flawed for 3 fundamental reasons:

  1. It’s not what you’re good at
  2. It’s not the best way for you to contribute to your business’ growth
  3. It’s not why you started your business in the first place

There are 4 “hats” you can wear within your business: technician, manager, leader, and entrepreneur. Chances are you are trying to wear them all.

This is a trap I often see entrepreneurs fall into when their business starts transitioning from Startup to Scale Stage. While you might be able to do anything, you cannot do everything. And if you try to do so, you will hinder your business’ growth.

Let’s go through these 4 hats of entrepreneurship so you can move from being the person “doing” to being the person leading and shaping the future of your business.

Hat 1: Technician

A technician is somebody who has their hands on the tools, doing the work, such as:

  •   Writing marketing copy
  •   Selling to potential customers
  •   Delivering your product or service
  •   Engaging in admin
  •   Designing systems and processes

As the entrepreneur, you want to build your team and your company so you can elevate to a level where you only spend 5% of your time in technician mode – with prospects, customers, and team members – to ensure you stay connected, and because you want to, not because you have to.

Hat 2: Manager

The manager is the person managing the people with their hands on the tools. Management is about ensuring people have the right instruction, direction, support, and accountability to do the job well.

Whenever you are directly managing tasks, projects, or people, you are in manager mode.

There may be times when you need to dig into the detail a little bit, but it is best for you and your company to have experienced managers managing the people, processes, and performance of the business. That way you can focus on what you do best.

Hat 3: Leader

A leader is somebody who enables people to be intrinsically motivated to perform.

Leadership is very distinct from management. A lot of business theory tries to conflate the two when in reality, they have very little in common.

What leadership really is

Management is about managing the mechanics, numbers, process, and accountability. It is very rational, best when black & white, and immediately measurable.

Management deals with the intellect, it speaks to the head.

Leadership is about leading the person, it speaks to the heart.

It is about vision – do people know what the vision is and are they genuinely engaged by it?

It is about values – who are we and how do we want to show up for each other?

It is about enrolling people into a future that not only excites them but makes very clear the role they will play in helping it to materialise.

A good leader helps people see the vision, and constantly reminds them of the role they are playing to turn that vision into a reality.

Hat 4: Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs create assets. The role and function of the entrepreneur are to start a business, ensure it has adequate funding, and the right team – in fact, it is more removed than what most people realise.

Most SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) owners in today’s business world want to be more involved in their business than solely wearing the hat of the Entrepreneur – they also want to wear the hat of the Leader so they can shape and lead their organisation.

Ultimately, going from business operator to business owner is a journey of building the people and the processes inherent in your organisation so you can spend 95% of your time wearing the hats of Entrepreneur and Leader, and 5% of your time wearing the hat of the Technician – not because you have to, but because you want to. Remember, it is important to remain connected to the consumer, to the team and the ground-level functions of your business, and spending a small fraction of your time doing Technician work will enable you to do exactly this.

It is a universal desire for entrepreneurs to build a business that runs without them operationally.

The reality is, to build in this operational excellence, you need crystal clear visibility into your business’ performance so you can pinpoint its (and your) greatest strengths and weaknesses.

With that clarity comes better decision-making as a business owner. Only then will you, your team and your business truly grow.

Learn how you can improve your people's function as you move from technician through to entrepreneur in your team in our exclusive short course aimed at helping you assemble an amazing team. Access the Building, Leading & Managing Your Team short course now.

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