If you are the owner of a business, there are two issues to consider about your role.

1. The time frame or time span within which you think and plan for the growth of your business.

2. Which functions of the organization you will delegate, and which will you carry yourself.

When entrepreneurs start a business, the primary focus is survival. Most entrepreneurs operate their business cash on cash. In other words, they are running hard to earn enough money to support the business and their lifestyle. The focus is close in. The pressing issue is what the entrepreneur can do to drive revenue. The problem with this approach is that it can lead to a seemingly endless cycle of chasing the next sale. As a result, a lot of entrepreneurs “burn out, rust out or bow out.”

To break this cycle, you need to raise the level of your gaze. You need to change the time frame in which you think and plan within your business.

High performing entrepreneurs plan their work and work their plan very differently than average performing entrepreneurs. This relates to the longest task in which they are involved and the way in which they manage short, complex tasks.

The starting point is to ask yourself how far into the future you have a vision for your organization – a vision that you can actually start working towards today.

If you are fifty years old and see yourself building a sellable business in 15 years that will enable you to retire at 65, that does not constitute a 15-year vision unless you can say what your plan is for selling the business and what you are doing today to make that happen. Try not to let your ego get in the way of an honest assessment of the longest task in your role which will likely be the furthest out vision for your company that you can effectively work towards.

High performing entrepreneurs clarify which functions of the organization they will delegate, and which will they will carry themselves.

You might decide to have a Marketing Director to whom you can say: “Here is where I want us in our market in 18 months. Make it so.”

You might instead decide to carry not only the vision for marketing, but also the strategy so that you determine how to get to that 18-month vision and, at most, delegate tasks to get there. For example, you might assign a task as follows: “Get us a booth at the conference in April and prepare the handouts for it.”

When you delegate functions, you are managing people at a higher level of capability. This frees you up to work at the highest level of your capabilities. 

High performing entrepreneurs are focused on what they want their business to become in the next five to ten years. To work at the highest level of their capabilities, they delegate functions like marketing that have a one to three year time horizon.

Entrepreneurs who are planning and implementing with a time horizon of five years or more are typically managing others. They are overseeing the integration of various roles. For example, managing the people who are responsible for marketing, sales, and service initiatives to ensure they are working collaboratively to achieve agreed upon success metrics.

They may choose to manage managers who are responsible for functions within their business, or outsource these functions and manage external resources.

High performing entrepreneurs apply Two Principles of Entrepreneurship:

1. Optimization – Work at the highest level of your capabilities and make the best and most effective use of your talents and those of others.

2. Leverage – Delegate functions and free yourself to only do what only you can do.