As a lifelong entrepreneur, I have started several businesses where my number one goal was to be the Boss.  I simply wanted to be in charge and follow my heart’s every desire. Let’s just say that while some of these businesses were successful, they never reached their full potential because I was running my business with the mindset of a Boss.

ceo-black-ipadI like the word Boss; it sounds so cool and tough. Not to mention it has empowered so many people to start their own business and it looks pretty fly on a t-shirt. However, living the “Boss” lifestyle and fighting so hard to live outside the corporate walls has allowed too many of us to lose sight of the CEO Mindset.

By definition, a boss is: a is a person who exercises control or authority; specifically: one who directs or supervises workers. While a CEO is defined as: the executive with the chief decision-making authority in an organization or business.

I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to “exercises authority” over people or “supervise workers.” Furthermore, I’m not sure what the responsibilities would be as a Boss if you don’t have anyone to supervise.

Since your business is not going to run itself, you will need someone at the helm. This will likely be you, at least in the beginning. CEOs are considered to be the highest level of professionals. As an entrepreneur, professionalism should always be top of mind and present in every aspect of your business. To achieve this level of entrepreneurship, you must adopt the CEO Mindset.

I know you’re thinking, “I left the corporate world to escape all of this _______ (you fill in the blank), and there’s no way I’m bringing that into my business.” In no way am I suggesting that you adopt practices that are not right for your business. But, don’t be so quick to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Now let’s dig a little deeper into what into what the CEO Mindset is all about.

1. Systems and Standards

Once you create a process that works for your business, create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for that task. You don’t need a fifty-page manual, but it should be comprehensive enough that someone can follow the steps to get the job done. The more complex your business, the more detailed your instructions should be. By creating SOPs, you will maintain continuity and a consistent level of service, thus creating the experience your customers are expecting, no matter who completes the task.

2. Numbers don’t lie

While your social media presence is important, it doesn’t yield the same results for every business. I remember working with a client who invested a great deal of time and resources growing their Instagram following. Once we dug into the numbers, we discovered that while they increased their Instagram followers by 6,500, it only generated two sales, despite throwing over 60% of their social media marketing budget into Instagram. The data further revealed that 45% of their sales were generated from Facebook leads even though they only spent 25% of their budget on that platform.

Understanding where their clicks came from gave them more insight into their customers and how they could get the most out of their marketing dollars. Armed with this new data, they quickly shifted 90% of their social media marketing budget to Facebook and experienced a 25% increase in their overall sales.

This analysis is just one example of how the numbers can influence your bottom line. ROI (return on investment); profit margin; customer acquisition cost; and payment cycles are other metrics that are critically important to your business.

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3.Make a Decision Already
I could go on for hours listing the characteristics of a good leader (honest, fair, committed, etc.), but I am going to spare you the dull read because most of them are common sense.
Good leaders are decisive. They collect as much intel as possible, in the allotted time, weigh the pros and cons, and then decide what to do, rather than allowing the circumstances alone to dictate their decisions.

4.Invest in your People
Whether you have employees or independent contractors, it is highly unlikely that you will handle every aspect of your business yourself. When you assign a task to someone, provide clear instructions (as described in #1), then allow them to complete the task without micro-managing. In addition to the SOPs, be sure to provide insightful explanations as to why certain standards are important to your business and how they affect it.

Once they have completed the task, be sure to provide valuable feedback and kudos, as appropriate. Over time, assign varied and challenging tasks to facilitate more growth. If you don’t believe someone on your team is worth professional development and mentoring, then they are likely not the right person for your business; don’t be afraid to move on and find the right people to invest in and grow your empire.

5.Turn on your Business GPS
Planning is one of the most important responsibilities of the top executive. If you are not clear on where you want to take your business in the short and long term, the moves you make will not be strategic or lead you to accomplishing specific goals. What’s worse, you may make moves that are counterproductive. Furthermore, if you don’t have a clear plan for the business, you can’t measure success, making most of the metrics you worked so hard to establish worthless.

There are some distinct differences between running your business with a CEO Mindset versus with a Boss’ mentality. As you can see having the CEO Mindset is essential to your business’ growth and lasting success. At first glance, these practices may seem complicated, but once you adopt the CEO Mindset, they are quite simple. Adopting these practices may not make you a Fortune 500 company overnight, but they will get you one step closer. Don’t worry, it’s about progress, not perfection.