Are You a Business Operator or a Business Owner?

By Shane Lukas, Managing Director AVN

Are you steering your accounting firm strategically as the business owner, planning for growth, with clear goals in sight?

Or are you simply working as a business operator, caught in an endless cycle of day-to-day tasks?

Knowing the difference can make or break your business.

The difference between a business operator and business owner

When you’re running your own accountancy practice, every day is busy. Dealing with clients, managing your team, answering emails and phone calls… there’s a lot going on. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.

Too many accountants unknowingly adopt a ‘business operator’ mindset. That is, they focus on the jobs that need to be done, not the strategic work that allows you to scale up, to take advantage of new developments and to future-proof your business.

With a business operator mindset, you limit your potential. You can only grow as much as your own capacity will allow and you can end up working long hours for very little reward.

The business owner mindset understands that they have to look ahead, not just at what’s in front of them right now. With this mindset, you seek out opportunities to develop and grow your business and you put the mechanisms in place to make it happen.

So how to step off the endless treadmill?

The switch from business operator to business owner

You need to free up some time to work on your business. Even an hour a week is enough to start making progress. And the more progress you make, the more time you free up.

Begin by delegating admin tasks that somebody else can do. This could be internally to your team or outsourced externally. Be clear about how you want them to complete the tasks so you can be confident they are being handled correctly.

It’s useful to keep in mind that you should be doing what only you can do. So what other tasks are you currently doing that someone else could take on?

Create systems that help others to meet the same high standards as if you were doing the job yourself. Work with your team to make sure each system is as effective as possible and keep reviewing and updating them.

Most importantly, you need to reframe your mindset and recognise that you are the owner, not the operator, of your business. I know this isn’t easy when you’re overwhelmed, but it’s essential if you want to move forwards.

Need some help?

I’m running a 1 day workshop for accountancy practice owners who want to get off the daily treadmill and grow their business. It’s called PracticeBoost – and it does what it says on the tin!

Find out more about the PracticeBoost workshop