4 Ways Business Owners Sometimes Feel They Are Losing Control (And How to Regain It)

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John Nieuwenburg

John Nieuwenburg has been a professional business coach since 2004. Prior to becoming a coach, he held executive positions with Tip Top Tailors and BC Liquor Stores. In 2019, MacKay CEO Forums awarded him with Canada’s CEO Trusted Advisor Award in the Small Business category. Since becoming a coach, John has worked with over 350 clients, taking them through a systematic process that helps them feel organized, confident and in control of their businesses.

One of the challenges of growing a business is getting to a point where it feels like the business is beginning to spin out of your control.

Here are three key areas where business owners often feel they’re losing their grip, along with some practical steps to reclaim command.

1. The Balancing Act of Marketing/Selling and Delivery

Many business owners really enjoy the delivery side of the work they do, but dread the marketing and sales part.

They see it as a tedious, but necessary evil that they only do when they have to.

This split focus can put your business into a feast and famine situation where you’re either delivering work you’ve sold or you’re out looking for more work.

It can also leave you feeling like you’re always scrambling and playing catch up.

The Solution: Get a marketing department for your business that runs for you 24/7 365 days per year.

Hire a dedicated marketing team or outsource this function so that you can keep the leads flowing in.

You will still need to handle the sales.

You can’t just focus on delivering products or services. You also need to be the driving force behind your business’s growth.

2. Doing the Work Yourself vs Managing People

Expanding your business will mean hiring people. Which means managing employees and dealing with more logistics.

I work with a lot of clients in construction and trades businesses.

Often, these owners began their business with a single truck, doing the work themselves. Then they grew to 2 trucks and a second worker – and from there to 5 or 6 trucks and a dozen workers.

Business is coming in the door, the phone is ringing, and now they have to manage not just their own activities – but the activities of all their employees.

When this happens, it can feel like you’ve lost control of the business and that it’s taken over your life.

The Solution: This is the point in your business where you need to develop systems.

You need things like checklists and SOPs.

You need to introduce a meeting structure.

3. The Business Owner Identity Crisis

Business owners often mistake themselves for their business, blurring the lines between their own personal identity and their company’s operations.

This mindset can prevent them from delegating effectively and exploring growth opportunities.

The Solution: Shift your perspective from being “self-employed in a business with your name on it” to owning a business that is an arm’s length entity that you manage, direct, and drive.

This mental transition frees you to envision the future rather than being bogged down by daily operations.

4. The Crossroads: Make the Business Smaller or Continue to Grow?

Getting to the point of feeling like you’re losing control of your business is a pivotal point in your entrepreneurial journey.

You face a crossroads: do you continue to grow? Or do you shrink back?

Owners sometimes feel like the right move is to scale the business back to when they last felt like they were in control. They let go of their staff and go back to being a one-man band.

Others recognize that they’re in the situation outlined in the E-myth: that just because you’re good at the technical work of your business doesn’t mean you’re good at the business of your technical work.

The Solution: Learn the skills you need to learn to become a better business owner.

As we always say here at W5 Coaching – if the owner wants a better business, first the business needs a better owner.

Becoming a better owner is partly an identity shift, but it’s also a matter of skill building.

You can learn how to lead a team, how to hire and train, how to delegate, and how to set KPIs and use your financials to make better decisions.

You can leave the out-of-control chaos behind and create a business that runs smoothly, profitably, and mostly without you.

If you’d like some help with that, you can book 15 minutes to talk about coaching here: Book a Call with John

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Better Business Owner

become a better owner

If an owner wants a better business, first the business needs a better owner.

This post is part of my Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Better Business Owner. Visit the guide homepage to get my best advice and coaching exercises to help you with:

  • Mindset. Thinking like an owner and seeing the big picture of your business.
  • Planning. Deciding what you want, setting a goal, and making plans to get after it.
  • Habits. Changing your behaviours to help you get what you want.
  • Learning. Getting new information and developing new skills.
  • Growth. Facing your fears, stepping outside your comfort zone, and doing what it necessary to create the business of your dreams.