Do You Own Your Business or Does it Own You? 5 Ways to Take Control


Team of Coworkers Sharing High Five in Modern Offie

If you can’t take off 2 weeks, you don’t own a business; it owns you.

Our business coaching client, William, owned a large metal roofing company. He came back from a week-long conference with his industry peers and, at his next meeting with his business coach, he said that every day, at least 2 of his peers asked him why he wasn’t getting phone calls throughout the day like the rest of them were. While the other business owners were constantly walking out of the conference to fight the latest fire back at their companies, William was calm, seemingly unhurried, and enjoying his time at the conference.

“What’s your secret?” his peers asked.

“Over the last few years, I’ve steadily worked to put the right team in place, train them, develop a leadership team, and set up processes so that the business can run without me. My business coach told me, ‘If you can’t take 2 weeks off, you don’t own a business; it owns you.’”

  • What would fall apart if you took off for a real vacation?
  • How long has it been since you had a vacation?


The Heavy Burden of Leadership

While your company is small, it makes sense to manage the business yourself but as your business grows, a 1-person management team can find you stretched thinner and thinner. Not only is it impossible for you to do it all, constantly fielding questions, reviewing work, and putting out fires can cause you to be a bottleneck. 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.

What are the precise elements that William put in place?

1. Build a leadership team and create a management structure — You can grow employees to be responsible for the day-to-day while you focus on the strategic direction and future. Your job then becomes to lead, develop, and coach a team of managers that is collaborative, results-oriented, and profit-focused.

2. Implement meeting rhythms, — Keeping to a set of meeting rhythms is how you execute the plans on your Single Sheet Business Plan and Quarterly Action Plan and turn them into reality. If the SSBP and the QAP are the brains of your company, your meeting rhythm is the heartbeat. From the Quarterly Leadership Team Meeting to the 5-minute Daily Huddle, meeting rhythms are a routine that gives every single person in your company a sense of certainty.

3. Learn to delegate, delegate, delegate! —The best way to keep your leadership team from getting overwhelmed is to make sure they know how to delegate well and that they and you are doing it continuously. For most leaders, delegation doesn’t come naturally. It’s more art than science filled with areas of gray. William’s business coach gave him lots of specific ideas for WHAT to delegate and also HOW to delegate.

4. Build systems and processes that spell how things should be done — This doesn’t need to be reems of paper. In fact, most of your team members can draft these and your managers or you can modify and approve them. Documented systems and processes ensure people know what to do when you’re not around and also empowers them to know what decisions they can make without you.

5. Develop a culture where people feel valued and aren’t afraid to make a mistake.


You’re an expert business owner and by partnering with an expert business coach, the two of you can implement these 5 things YOUR way. You provide the specifics of your business, and your business coach can guide your implementation… and even do some of the work for you.

If your business can’t run without you, it won’t grow beyond you. There are simply certain elements that absolutely must be in place, like the 5 things outlined here, and if they’re not, you’ll be spinning your wheels next year the same way you are this year.

Sure these 5 things take time but if you start now, this time next year you’ll have a strong start on every one of them. And you can be taking a vacation that’s actually relaxing.

Inspire Results Business Coaching

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