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How can you break through the entrepreneurial glass ceiling?

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At this point any extra revenue they do generate merely “feeds the machine”, eaten up by ever expanding overheads, tax, logistics, and salaries.

I call this phenomenon “the ceiling of complexity”, and it seems to affect 95 per cent of SME business owners. Often this can keep an entrepreneur’s personal income below £100k per year. 

This happens because as businesses grow, owners end up with an overwhelming number of people and things constantly demanding their time and energy. Complexity grows with success. Not only does working harder and longer not help you grow, it becomes counter-productive and entrepreneurs feel like they are stuck in a rut and constantly overwhelmed.

So what can you do about it? As Mark Twain said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.” Entrepreneurs need to recognise that to keep growing, something has to change. 

The first is the shift from a mindset of “rugged individualism” – where they feel they need to do everything themselves – to a state of “unique teamwork”. This is based on the idea that everyone has a “unique ability”. This is a unique set of skills for which they have a passion. 

The key to unique teamwork is to focus more and more on your own unique ability and delegate everything else to others who ideally have unique abilities in the areas where you don’t. 

The second shift is from the “time-and-effort economy” to the “results economy”. For entrepreneurs, if you don’t generate results, you don’t get paid. Being in an office nine to five, Monday to Friday has very little to do with it, yet many business owners still think of and organise their time in this way. 

What entrepreneurs should do is have time clearly set aside where they can focus on the activities that generate the most important results, and create the most value for their own business and their clients. These are often the activities that, as a business owner, you enjoy the most and actually gain energy from doing.

When entrepreneurs are able to focus more on the things they love to do, that produce great results, their energy level and ability to focus is boosted. This ultimately leads to increased revenue and profitability, breaking through the “glass ceiling” to a greater level of success.

On Thursday, July 14, 2011, Strategic Coach client Andrew Burcher, founder of the Mabain Group, will be giving a complimentary presentation for Real Business readers, to share his insight and experience of how you too can break through the entrepreneurial glass ceiling and accelerate your business’ growth. 

Click here for complimentary tickets for the July London event, to read more about Andrew and his business, and the Strategic Coach programme.

Dan Sullivan is founder and president of Strategic Coach.

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