This is the third post in a series about making the leap from entrepreneur to CEO. The full piece originally appeared on Inc.
When you build your own business, eventually you learn that you can’t control every single piece of it. If you want your company to thrive, you have to learn to let go. In the last post of this series, I talked about how to know when to hire and start paying yourself, as well as the importance of working with smaller players at the advent of growth. Here are two more important lessons I’ve learned transitioning to ParkWhiz CEO:
- When to focus on long-term planning. There came a point when I needed to delegate day-to-day tasks in order to focus on scaling the business. As CEO, I needed to step back, develop the strategic roadmap for the company and identify new opportunities that would enable the business to grow toward its goals. This is a pivotal mind shift for any entrepreneur. In 2007, the company was a hardware-sensor-based one, and I was trying to pivot it into the business that it is today. After investing endless hours and years into the business, I got caught up in the tactical day-to-day grind. When I finally looked up, I realized the vision I set out to achieve was unlikely to be realized, and I knew we had to make a difficult choice to push on or pivot. While my heart was in the former business, my brain told me we needed to shift hard to the model we are today. That was a difficult moment for me to reconcile, but knew it had to be done.
- Look for support outside your company, through your family. This was the most important lesson for me. I was fortunate enough to have a supportive wife who allowed me to follow my dream – it also helped that she was a lawyer and CPA and could offer pro-bono guidance. Young entrepreneurs should have serious conversations with their families about what their commitment will be. Even if their spouse, parents, siblings or friends don’t formally have a position at your company, their support could mean the difference between building a thriving business – or letting a dream fall by the wayside.
Jumping to CEO has been one of the most rewarding experiences, allowing me to push business further than I could ever imagine. However, just remember to let go – it may be difficult at first, but it helps reveal the full potential that any company has in its industry.