Do You Own Your Own Business or Does Your Business Own You?

This is a critical question to ask if you are just starting a venture or a seasoned entrepreneur. I hope this article finds you at a junction in your business that you can re-examine your positioning even if it is not one of business ownership. I hope it will move you into working smarter and not harder in order to allow your creative genius to create an extraordinary organization.

Earlier today I was creating a PowerPoint presentation for an upcoming product launch, it took me about 45 minutes to complete the project, in part because I am a recovering perfectionist. When that was done, I began to try to build a database to manage a growing catalog of products and services. Now this took me an unusual amount of time.

I began to reflect about the last time I spent hours trying to do something that would take an expert a few minutes to complete. I laughed to myself as I thought back to a day many years ago, I was sitting at my desk in a tight for time and a major report due by close of business. Hour after hour I sat at my desk frustrated trying to create charts and graphs, size photos and align text boxes.

Shortly before 3:00 pm my assistant came into the office to tell me that she thinks I am brilliant, articulate, creative and a great leader. Although I was in desperate need of a compliment at the time, that is not really what wanted at the time. She went on to tell me that I was not good however, at doing her job.

She was proficient with the task I was struggling to complete. She asked me why don't I "use her for what she's good at and stick to what I'm good at?" I thought for a moment and realized she was absolutely right! Needless to say, together we completed and submitted the report before the deadline. In fact, I was able to beat rush hour traffic and catch the 'beginning' of my daughter's volleyball game that day because we finished early.

I was allowing my business to own me because I was not maximizing my strengths and delegating those areas that are not my forte. I wonder how may other business owners pursued entrepreneurship because they no longer wanted to work for someone else. They refused to work like a slave another day! Yet many of us at some point find ourselves "working for" our business.

Take a look at the following 10 questions and think about what you discover in yourself. This is a time to take a critical look with complete honesty. The more honest your answers the clearer the vision for your business ownership will become.

Top 10 Questions to Know If You Are On Track to "Owning" Your Business:

ONE - Are you a self-starter and finisher? Do you need someone to get you started and then you complete the tasks? Think about it for a moment, or are the self-starter and then rely on others to complete the tasks. Often, an entrepreneur tries to carry both roles.

The Business Owner however, is a self-starter yet has the power and trust to rely on others or their system to run on it’s own to carry out the duties. This leaves you free to create, initiate and be innovative for problem solving or designing new methods of doing business.

TWO - Are you a leader of a supervisor? Do you drive people around you? Are your employees comfortable to do necessary tasks independently. The people that surround you, are they self-starters? If you are supervising people and they are all dependent on you or your employees do make decisions without your input – then you must really take a look and see if your business is running you. It probably won’t run without you.

THREE - Can you take responsibility? I mean complete responsibility. If something goes wrong are you able to say, "what did I do?" What can I do differently? If you are someone who must find blame or complain about situations then your business is probably running you.

FOUR - Are you an organizer? Can you see the larger goal and chunk it down into smaller tasks? Are you able to plan for an intention that you can not yet materialize? Do you create the event or goal and trust others to put all the pieces together to meet your expectations?

FIVE - Are you a hard worker or a smart worker? You have heard this one before, I’m sure. But think about it from the perspective of a business owner. Are you the one who works until the tasks are eliminated or do you manage the skills and assets of others in order to get your needs met? In other words, if you have a large task ahead and had to meet a deadline. Would you work hard until the work was done or would you create a method to getting the work done in half the time with the least amount of effort? Or would you solicit and collaborate workers to complete the duty?

SIX - How decisive are you? Are you quick to make decisions? As an entrepreneur or small business owner it is necessary to have the ability to make an assessment and follow up with a decision. Do you rely on your own knowledge or the expertise of others. Just something to think about, do you really want all of your business ventures to be based on your sole proficiency and competency?

SEVEN - Do you operate in honest and trustworthy zone? Are you integrity based or get by based? What is more important to you? Getting the most business possible from your existing customer base or creating new leads and business? If you are working for your business, you may find that you are working countless hours to sell to customers to whom you have previously never known or sold. Do you find that you are trying to sell to anyone everywhere? AND you are not really interested in building customer loyalty.

However, if your business is working for you, you will have systems and best practices in place that will work without your hands having to be on the pulse at every moment. This freedom is great! It allows you to envision a larger, stronger more viable business with new partners and out of your normal realm clientele. You will be able to do this in an purposeful, organized and strategic manner.

EIGHT - Do you spend unnecessary hours trying to become an expert in every field relative to your business? If you are not good with numbers and record keeping for example, do not spend 3 hours a day trying to master that function. Let an expert complete the tasks in minutes. As an entrepreneur, early on funds may be low so look to exchange services with a colleague or explore joint ventures. Know your skills for sure and equally as important, know your areas of need.

NINE - Are you a visionary? Are you able to see past today’s "To Do List?" Can you envision your business next year, in 5 years and 10 years out? If you can't, that is a clear sign that you are working for your business. Think about it, you may be the creative soul behind your business if you are producing works of art, poems music etc. however, a visionary and creative soul without forward thinking intentions is someone working on a hobby.

TEN - How diligent are you? Are you hard working, industrious and meticulous? Although these are wonderful qualities for a worker, they may not be so for a business owner. You should not be bogged down with the day to day tasks wherever possible.

Now, I understand, when you or your knowledge and skills are directly related to the product/service it seems impossible not to carry the entire load. Trust me, I get it. However, what I am suggesting is that you delegate those areas in your business that you do not need directly control. For example, bookkeeping & scheduling functions can be delegated or outsourced; leaving you additional time to explore various ways to market yourself – which directly relates to revenue generation = money to hire staff to free up additional time.

After all, isn't that why you went into business for yourself because you wanted freedom. You don't want to work your fingers to the bone working for anybody!

Enjoy your new freedom and the privilege of being a Business Owner,


Author's Bio: 

Andrea Callahan is transformation expert, writer, trainer & coach. She is the founder and owner of Ten Faces of She, LLC a company that provides training for the empowerment and leadership for women and girls, world-wide. Andrea offers coaching programs focused on personal-mastery, leadership & business. She is also an information marketer providing books, action-guides, work-thru journals and home-study courses. Andrea writes a daily blog at