In Business, Avoid Falling In Love

For most entrepreneurs, including myself, the start of a new business venture usually depends on a single idea that they feel passionate about and are willing to invest funds, time, resources and, perhaps, their lives. This passion is what gives the entrepreneur the energy, power and resilience to make it happen. Yet an entrepreneur should keep in mind that the day will come when they need to detach and exit the business with maximized returns.

For this to happen, entrepreneurs should learn to plan from the start how they can exit the business or at least become less involved in running it. By recognizing that they cannot be the only one performing every role needed to achieve the desired sustainable growth and success, they create a better structure for a future successful exist, without risking the collapse of the business.

From my experience, an entrepreneur should decide on which of the three key roles he or she should assume: the visionary who will grow the business, the executer who will ensure successful delivery of products and services, or the controller who will optimize operations.

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The three roles are fully integrated and interrelated and must be performed in a cohesive and coordinated matter. Yet taking on more than one role will put the business at risk.

For example, being a visionary, I have the habit of being less strict on employees request for pay raise, additional perks, or taking time off. An optimizer will be less tolerant to as this will cause the business to run at lower efficiency as well as cause issues with other resources. Similarly, being a visionary, I want my customers to be always happy and pleased to what we are offering. This could result in gold plating the offering or committing to results that the delivery team cannot do.

Therefore, separating the roles is crucial.

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The Visionary
If the entrepreneur wants to be the visionary, which from my experience is optimal, then he or she should master the generation of new ideas and concepts that will keep the business always alive and ahead of the competition. The visionary also includes setting the growth strategy as well as building the team that will be needed to achieve this growth and market leadership as well as securing partnerships to accelerate growth. In other words, the visionary should be the one who has the ultimate responsibility to lead the business into continuous growth and market leadership.

The Executor
The second role needed to run a healthy and successful business is the executer. This is the role that ensures delivery is on time, within budget and meets quality standards. In other words, the executer ultimate responsibility is to achieve customer satisfaction but without “gold-plating” the services and products deliverables.

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The Optimizer
The optimizer is the third important role needed to run a business. This is the role that will ensure that the business operations are run efficiently and achieve the targeted return on investment and profitability. In other words, the optimizer ultimate responsibility is to achieve running the business in the most optimum format to ensure that the business is running in a profitable format.

Having those three roles run by right and competent team members will not only increase the likelihood of having successful business but will also ensure that the business will continue to be sustainable if those performing those roles get replaced. In a way, it will help the entrepreneur not to blindly fall in love with the idea and the passion associated with it, but be comfortable to let go when the right time comes.

(The article is authored by Bassam Samman, CEO and founder of CMCS (YPO member since 2005))
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