Get off the tools!

Fire Up Your Fast Growing Team of Creatives.

Be a Respected Boss.

My Most Trusted 100 Club Member:

I work with service-based business owners who have grown their businesses out of the start-up phase, and are spending too much time on the tools and that’s holding them back from scaling the business. I create business strategies that get traction and help owners make better, faster decisions, prioritise their resource and take action on tasks with the biggest impact.

“After working with Shannyn, I became so much clearer on the plan I needed to put in place to continue to scale my business. She quickly understood my business and the broader market and enabled me to confidently make some big decisions in my business, which continue to yield great results!” (client)

You’re a brilliant marketing conductor!

I have no doubt that you’re great “on the tools” delivering impactful marketing and advertising services to your clients. Am I right in that that’s been the secret to your success thus far?

Mind you, as your business has grown, I’m sure, like many small business owners, you’ve found yourself wearing all the hats, most of which probably don’t fit that well; HR, finance, technology, leadership, and probably even reception!

There is a point in the business journey when things need to change; when you’re so busy being busy, that there just never seems to be the right moment to do it differently.

Now is the time to rethink, because right now, your growing business and team need a special kind of strategist. A leader who has the brainspace to not just see problems but finds and fixes the root cause. Someone who drives a great culture and manages poor performance.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen (effectively) when you’re bogged down working “in” your business, especially if you’re responsible for a large portion of billable work.

Here are four areas that may hinder you from taking that next step in your growth and having a thriving business you deserve, with tips and strategies to change it.


Fear of cash flow keeps you on the tools

According to BLS (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) data, 45% of businesses fail during the first five years, and 65% during the first ten years!

The reasons that were given? Bad business planning and expanding too fast.

As businesses grow, what was once 'little things' become magnified.

The problem with no planning, growth without structure and justifying not hiring to fill key person dependencies (that’s you and your contribution to direct revenue) means that any “success” in your revenue show a false economy. In a growing business, if no one is steering the ship, it’s easy for the business to run aground.

Our recommendations?

  1. Take time (away from working “in” the business) to plan effectively. This should include a resource plan to reduce your personal billable time, or potentially bring in new management levels, so your time is more effectively used where you play best.
  2. Use your team to uncover the biggest impact problems and workshop how to address them.
  3. Create systems and processes to manage plans, reduce waste and hold the team accountable.

Every decision still goes through you

Having a very flat structure is good in theory; it generally means you have low bureaucracy, and overheads. But there is a point in every growing business when you realise that you’ve become a bottleneck.

When team members spend more time reminding you of the things they need from you than having meaningful conversations about business improvement or delighting your customers, something needs to change.

This change can be made much easier by:

  1. Communicating the outcome and delegating effectively.
    Having appropriate controls in place, especially around delegated work.
  2. Proactively managing the team to keep people on track.
  3. Have systems around management and execution to keep you informed on the outcomes of important actions that have been delegated.

Stepping back and appropriately handing over responsibility can be a game changer for your business, but it doesn't happen without a little planning and letting go of the reins.

You’re hiring, but you’re not nurturing the new recruits

In a growing business, your people and their success equate to your success.

Thing is, in the “busy-ness” of being stuck on the tools, new hires often don't get up to speed quickly enough to take the pressure off you. Worse still is they often keep making the same mistakes no matter how many times you tell them to do it differently

Hiring people won’t support your goals if you don’t develop a process to nurture them effectively. If you’re in the habit of jumping in because “it’s quicker if I just do it myself” then this is a sure-fire sign that things need to change.

How do you do it differently?

  1. Ensure you have a culture that fosters learning, knowledge and IP exchange – remember your business grew because you were good at being a technician – so teach your team what you know!
  2. Have an onboarding process to ensure your new recruits hit the ground running as quickly as possible.
  3. Set 30, 60 and 90-day development milestones for each recruit. This will help them to understand their growth journey and hold you accountable for allocating time to support their development.

You want to be an appreciated boss

Every human is driven, on some level, by wanting to be appreciated by those around us.

Many business owners feel isolated and alone because the team they work with complain about the little things but have no idea of all the plates you’re spinning or the sleepless nights when you’re struggling to make payroll. Where’s your acknowledgement for a job well done?

How do you get appreciation without taking the limelight? Appreciation comes from building trust and being a respected leader of the team.

Great leadership looks like this:

  1. Having faith in your vision and staying true to your values.
  2. Having integrity above all else – if you say you’re going to do it, do it.
  3. Be comfortable with making hard choices and sometimes being unpopular.
  4. Get better at communicating, and in particular, communicating differently depending on your team’s styles.
  5. Have the humility to learn and grow in the areas you might be uncomfortable in – and that might be your leadership!

Most business owners, particularly those who have come from being great technicians, say that running a business is the hardest thing they have ever done. It can get easier, but it does involve getting off the tools and spending more time working “on” the business.

My top 5 suggested actions?

  1. Carve time out to rethink your strategy - we make time for the things that are important. Make your success the most important thing on your to-do list today.
  2. Make sure once you’ve developed your plan, you communicate the plan with the team and involve them where it makes sense to do so.
  3. Create a cadence of accountability to yourself and your team to the goals and the strategies that you’re putting in place to achieve them.
  4. Show up with humility and curiosity - find out from your team how things can be better and listen. Ensure you agree to what will change and change it. Integrity above all else in leadership builds trust.
  5. Get support - don’t do it alone. Join a network of people who genuinely want you to succeed. You might even want to seek out a business coach.

Good luck and great fortune in your journey to getting off the tools, firing up your team and being a respected boss. You’ve come this far, and I’m sure the ride has had its share of uncomfortable moments so I know you you can do more!

If you want more support, get in touch!