Making the transition from CEO of a midsize company to owning my own startup, I am learning to balance working in my business vs being able to devote most of my time to being the visionary. For smaller companies, everyone, including the owner/CEO, wears multiple hats. As the owner, if I don’t do the work, there may not be anyone else to get it done. It is very easy to get sucked into fighting the latest fire and end up losing hours or days that should have been spent on driving the business forward. My strongest attribute is being a creative thinker and visionary, but as an entrepreneur, I don’t have the luxury of doing that 100% of the time. Here are 5 of the strategies I have employed to help me find the right balance.
1. Finding the Right Mentors:
Throughout my career, I have sought out and connected with highly successful mentors. I have mentors who I have worked with for years, as well as several I have connected with since starting Quantum. I don’t rely on just one mentor. Instead, I utilize a well-rounded network of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders as well as thought leaders. Last Fall, I read the book Tech-Powered Sales: Achieve Superhuman Sales Skills by Justin Michael and Tony Hughes and was blown away. I immediately reached out to Justin Michael and ended up hiring him as a consultant. I have gained so much insight into what technology is currently available for sales automation and what is on the horizon. This knowledge has transformed the way I operate my business and has also elevated what knowledge I share and am able to bring to the table when coaching my clients.
2. Hiring the Right People for the Right Seats:
As a startup, I can’t afford to hire a large team. I have a few key team members who I brought on board to fill the gaps. I knew I needed team members who would fit my organization’s core values, could also wear multiple hats, and had skill sets in areas that were not my biggest strengths. As a visionary, I needed an integrator who would push to get things done and bring order and structure. I needed team members who had strong work ethic and who were enthusiastic and passionate about this business and opportunity. I needed individuals who were able to take a bit of a risk and go on this ride with me. From the beginning, I developed and implemented a “Hire to Retire” process to recruit the best talent, keep them happy and engaged, and build a pipeline of future candidates to bring on board as we grow.
I referenced automation tools above. Automation has enabled me and my team to multiply ourselves ten-fold. We utilize tools like HubSpot for our CRM (lead and pipeline management), calendar links, social media scheduling, sales and marketing email automation and tracking, landing pages, chat, and more. We utilize other tools that integrate with HubSpot like Kennected for LinkedIn automation; Kixie for automated dialing with local presence, texting, and voicemail drops; and ConnectandSell for call campaigns to 10X productivity and gain direct access to decision makers. We also utilize automation tools for additional social media outreach, including LinkedIn Sales Navigator, building lists, sending coffee on us for virtual meetings, gifting and one-to-one sales videos.
Growth is at the top of our core values list for a reason. Staying focused on what each team member’s role is and how they can most effectively contribute to that growth, myself included, helps us to figure out where we are overlapping efforts, and execute. We cover our core values in our team meeting each morning to help keep us focused on our priorities.
I am passionate about my business. I believe in our product offerings and the value we bring to our clients. It is very easy for me to work 14 to 16-hour days. To make sure I am focused on the right things that will grow and evolve the business, it is important for me to take breaks and reflect. I practice and teach hot yoga. I usually do two workouts each day. I take time out for family, friends and fun. I read and listen to audiobooks and podcasts to expand my knowledge and gain inspiration. I step away so I can step back in with a clearer head and refocus on what I can do that will have the biggest impact on growing the business.
I learn more as I go and grow as an entrepreneur. I don’t always get it right, but knowing and being aware of how easy it is to get caught up working in the business rather than on it, helps me to regularly evaluate how I am spending my time and determine the value of my efforts on a specific task. The goal is to leverage my strengths as a visionary and fill in the gaps when and where needed to grow and scale the business.
Shawn Peterson is the CEO of Quantum Business Solutions. He comes with a decade of experience in the technology services industry as an executive. Shawn is a visionary focused on high growth and performance through sales, marketing, and client experience. He is known for driving brand growth, maximizing sales and marketing efficiency, and delivering financial performance. He realizes that great people in the right seats, equipped with the right tools and development, is the most important ingredient to business success. When Shawn isn’t working on growing organizations, he enjoys spending time with his family. Other hobbies include traveling, running, boating, and yoga.