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Navigating Leadership: Balancing the Roles of CEO and President of Two Companies

Compass pointing to leadership

As the business grows, you are expected to open a second location. What is uncommon is running distinctly different businesses at the same time. 


My success in running two distinctly different businesses simultaneously is due to the following principles:



What does it mean to be organized? There are glass balls and rubber balls. The glass balls are the items that must be done without exception, and the rubber balls are the items I address as time permits. I track items in my electronic calendar every day - and yes, these items are on a paper notepad throughout the day that is then moved to my calendar to-do list at the end of each day to allocate the proper amount of time to complete blocked out on my calendar. The list on my calendar is prioritized into three categories: follow-up, tasks for the day, and as time permits. When something is completed, DONE in all caps is put at the end of the task and will be removed from the next day's list. Typing the word done is my sense of accomplishment for the day. The additional items that come up throughout the day are placed on the paper notepad, and if rubber ball time is not permitted, they may be completed on the same day or added to the list for the next day. And no, there has never been a day where solitaire was on the list. 


If you keep a paper notepad, be careful, as when you flip the page and still have items incomplete, it does not mean they are done. This is a mistake I made early on in my career. As your to-do list grows, things can fall between the cracks if you do not flip back to the items on the page you did not complete.



All too often, new business owners/leaders tend to want to control everything because when you started your business, it was probably only you. Still, as you start building your team, you must build them up and relinquish the squeeze by giving them the control to run their departments. Your job now is to inspire and guide them in the direction you want to see the company grow. Focus your time on finding the right people specializing in the required field of need. Hire up, not down, or be prepared to micromanage, which is a time killer. 


Treat your team with the utmost respect. Be passionate and motivate them. Have you ever heard the phrase treat them as if your life depends on it? Work as a team together to climb together. This will help expand your energy as well as your time.



Do not lose sight of the numbers. As important as your team is, the numbers are a close second. Having reporting at your fingertips is critical to measuring results. It helps me look at the gaps and keep track of progress. Review the numbers on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. 



Another mistake I made when I first started managing two businesses was that they were in two locations. This is almost impossible because you cannot be in two places simultaneously. Having a central location for both businesses changed my life. This does not mean that I do not maintain an office at each location because both companies need to know that I am focused on the business's success, and you do this by being present and putting down roots. Do not underestimate your physical presence. 


I have also found that one location allows me to save time and maximize manpower by utilizing shared resource departments for two businesses. Examples are Human Resources, IT, marketing, and accounting. This allows me to have fewer direct reports and gives me more valuable time. 



Bringing the processes of two companies together as much as possible. Yes, they are two distinctly different businesses, but they have synergistic attributes. It is also very likely that one business process with proven success will work for the other. You know the saying if something, “If it is not broken, don’t try and fix it.” 



Stay optimistic in the face of pessimism and continually have backup plans should things go awry. Worrying about issues that may or may not pop up can waste valuable time. Use the time to knock something off the to-do list. Don’t let worry become a factor in your business. 



The lesson of the year for me will be not letting outsourcing feel like you are a failure. It never hurts to have an extra set of hands. Outsourcing projects will allow me to focus on the development of our technology. I will let the outsourcing components of the business be my mentor to teach me what I do not know. 


Managing multiple businesses is no cakewalk, but I am proof it can be done with focus and determination. 

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