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The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.

Today’s question: Which type of business owner are you?

Many starting a business today do so because they want a higher income, more freedom, and greater happiness — all while working less.

Can it really be achieved?

Well, the short answer is yes. But, sadly, that is not the typical business owner’s experience.

Instead, new business owners end up working a whole lot more than they ever have before while earning a whole lot less. Which is why you may have seen “entrepreneurs” defined as “the only people willing to work 80-hour weeks for themselves to avoid working 40-hour weeks for someone else.”

Naturally, this is very discouraging for them. And also for you, if this is your story too.

How can there be such a disconnect between what you’ve been conditioned to expect and reality?

The answer is: too many business owners are gifted at what they do but are completely ineffective as strategic leaders.  If you aren’t being strategic and pro-active in leading your business, you are simply not going to be able to take it very far. In fact, you are likely to frustrate yourself into eventually abandoning it altogether.

But you can write a different ending to your business story.

You do this by moving from being a tactical business owner to becoming a strategic business leader. This requires changing the level of your thinking.

Where to start

Begin by asking yourself the following questions starting with “Do I“:

  1. see the big picture and am I taking a long-term view of the competitive landscape?
  2. think more like a CEO than an employee?
  3. have a strategic business plan that gets updated annually?
  4. regularly review the direction and objectives of my business?
  5. utilize the leverage of marketing to grow my business?
  6. focus on the entire business and not just the technical work of my business?
  7. conduct one-on-one monthly coaching sessions with my team members?
  8. avoid getting buried in the day-to-day details and headaches of the business?
  9. spend more time on important matters rather than trivial and/or urgent matters?

Then ask yourself “Have I“:

  1. created plans, procedures and policies to help run my company?
  2. developed and documented all of my key business processes?
  3. created a systems-dependent business instead of an owner-dependent business?
  4. prepared a business continuity plan to protect my business from failing if I am suddenly unable to work due to illness or accident
  5. shaped my business more by design than by default?

And the last question to ask yourself is “Are my daily actions strategic, purposeful, proactive, and planning-based?“.

What did you find?

Did you answer “no” to most of these questions? If so, you are operating as a tactical, reactive business owner.

Strategic business owners think and behave differently. They work smarter, not harder and get the highest, best returns possible for their time, money and effort.

To change how you relate to your business, focus on turning those nos into yeses. That’s the key to improving your bottom-line results and experiencing the personal satisfaction you seek.

More next time. Until then, remember to LOVE YOUR WORK, whatever it may be.

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