Business Management: 2 Signs It’s Become Too Much for 1 Person

09/15/2015 | Roger and Susie Engelau

1-Person Business Management


While your company’s small, it makes sense to do as much of the business management as possible yourself… the accounting, the marketing, the fulfillment, the daily operations. But as your business grows, as a 1-person business management team, you find yourself stretched thinner and thinner.


Eventually you realize you can’t continue to oversee all the business management needs—operations, sales, accounting, fulfillment, marketing… and hope to also grow your business.


When you reach this point, it’s time to think about bringing other managers on board to help you out with business management…to build a senior team that’s able to manage the critical areas of your business to take it to the next level.


It’s hard for independent-minded entrepreneurs to accept that they can’t do all the business management… but the truth is—as the business owner, you simply have to get more advanced at the way you think about and do things as your business grows.


One of my coaching clients, Gary, admitted to a group of peers that he had zero time for himself. Working 15-16 hours/day, squeezing in a little time for his family, getting up at 4 AM and getting back to it after dinner. His business was growing but business management was killing him.  When he was at work he was constantly interrupted by employees seeking guidance and passing along information. This forced him to do his own critical work outside of normal business hours.


How to tell if you need a leadership team


There are 2 signs that it’s time to start building a leadership team.


  1. You find yourself spending way too much time going way too deep in an area of the business, especially an area that’s not your expertise.—If you’re crunching numbers, preparing payroll, hunting for invoices, AND balancing the bank account, you may need to hire a CFO; if it’s marketing, maybe you need a marketing expert. If technology impacts your business strategically, you may need a CTO. Maybe you’re on the shop floor a lot and too involved in daily operations—you may need an operations manager. If your strength is in the design side or you love going out making the sale, look at hiring a COO or general manager to free yourself up to do the thing you’re good at and love to do.
  2. Your profits seem to have hit a ceiling. – Profits have been stuck at $5, $15, or $50 million for years and you don’t seem to be able to break through to the next level.



How to start building your leadership team


Gary and I started our work together by sitting down with his wife and identifying a Personal Vision. We went out 25 years to when kids would be having grandkids and planned backward. It smacked Gary between the eyes how fleeting the time he had remaining with his children was, and also that what he was doing now would not get him to the vision he had.


Now that he saw what he wanted his business to deliver personally, we could begin identifying the type of business that would produce his desired personal outcome. We created a Business Vision, again starting at 25 years out and brought it back to today. Now we had a road map for building the business of his dreams.


Our next step was to create an organizational structure that would support the personal and business outcomes he desired. First we created a Future-Focused Organizational Chart, including a newly defined a business management team. His current organizational structure was weak, so we created an organization chart that could be implemented now. We executed some elements of his Future-Focused Organization Chart immediately too, starting by hiring someone to manage the shop floor. A few months later he hired someone to manage the financials and office administration. Now he had a management team of 3.


We then began doing leadership team coaching. We worked with the managers to delegate lower-level tasks which enhanced the work of the next level in the organization.


As these managers began to exercise their authority and responsibility, they took a tremendous load off Gary who focused on strategy and sales. He began making his kids soccer games and actually took a family vacation. Since, he’s hired a sales and marketing manager. Today I coach Gary one week and he and his leadership team the next. The business management team is now working at a rapid pace to build the necessary administrative, managerial, and operational systems necessary to profitably support their continued growth.


Business management starts as a 1-person job but as your business grows, business management gradually has to be accomplished with a team. Gary knew that this type of work needed to be done but when you’re buried working IN your business with barely time to breathe, you can’t pull yourself out of the business to work ON the business.


Individual and leadership team coaching can pull you out of the business and help you create a roadmap to the rapid, successful change Gary was able to achieve… escalating profits and  balance in your personal life.