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Are You Running Your Business Or Managing It?

Over the years, I have seen many companies launched by an entrepreneurial founder with a great idea for a product or service. They get started, and as the “expert,” attempt to do everything themselves-they are running the business. This activity works for a period of time, but eventually problems start surfacing. The entrepreneurial founder experiences the effects of early burn out, too much growth too fast, competition and economic changes with delayed corrective action. Running the business without managing it starts affecting the bottom line.

Are You Running or Managing?


An entrepreneur needs to keep their business and what they do daily in the proper perspective. A business requires one to keep their eyes on all functional areas of the business-they need to manage the business and not only run the business. One cannot spend an inordinate amount of time on one functional area. Like being a juggler who must keep all the balls in the air.

In Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth, he interviews Sarah who has been baking and selling the most delicious cookies. She was doing fine getting up a 5:00 am baking with one store, still doing okay with two stores, but getting up an hour even earlier, and she then opens a third store…yes you know the rest. Before long she is not attending to the details of her business and not getting any sleep.

Another example is an individual who loved to run low voltage wiring, and when he started his business he did it instead of hiring a qualified person to do this function. Today he has many team members but he still installs the low voltage wiring. These examples are typical for start-up companies.

Professor Larry Greiner of Harvard and USC Schools of management describes the various stages of a business growth:

Stage 1 – Entrepreneurial Creative – runs their business and thinks he/she is managing.
Stage 2 – Directive – the owner does not have a plan and informally communicates a plan which changes based on knee jerk reactions.
Stage 3 – Delegation – bring in professional management and in most cases the owner struggles with the transition as he/she is not used to having a road map or strategic-execution plan.
Stage 4 – Collaboration – Owner finally sees that success will only happen when the delegation is complete to the professional manager and the perfection of the strategic execution plan.

Elanstrategic helps the entrepreneur make the transition without the need to bring in professional management by developing a plan and helping in its execution.

We understand the growth model and can work with it. We help your organization make the transition from running the business to managing the business. Call us at 952-960-6688 or email