This is the first post in a series about making the leap from entrepreneur to CEO. The full piece originally appeared on Inc.
My biggest challenge was letting go.
When I launched ParkWhiz in 2006, I was used to completing tasks on my own and doing things a certain way, from reporting financials to servicing accounts. As the business began to scale and we brought on employees, I quickly realized I had to let go of the notion that everything would be done exactly the way I wanted it, every time. Not only was that inefficient, but it was demoralizing to employees if I couldn’t trust and empower them to find their way.
So I made a vow to let go of the tasks I once owned and began mastering delegation while maintaining the high standards I had set. And, yes, I even slept better at night knowing the burden was no longer fully mine to own and execute.
Transitioning from entrepreneur to CEO is a difficult shift. After all, conceiving a company is in an entrepreneur’s blood, and not all feel comfortable leaving behind the excitement of launching a company of their own to take on a role that involves more red tape and general process. While many technology startup founders can grow bored after their business goes from dream to reality, I stayed on and continued leading as CEO, but if an entrepreneur can’t let go, the business won’t grow.
Aside from letting go, there were four key lessons I learned on the path from entrepreneur to CEO. Stay tuned for two following blog posts discussing this critical insight for aspiring CEOs. In the meantime, what are difficult lessons you’ve learned during your career? Tweet them to me @theaashishdalal or leave a comment below.