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Thinking big - EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women - Work on the business, rather than in it - EY - United States

Thinking big: EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™

Work on the business, rather than in it

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Leading differently

I have made changes in...

Leading differently
Since the Strategic Growth Forum, I have focused on becoming a better, stronger leader — taking a step back to look at the business and where we want to grow.Lili Hall
Founder and CEO, KNOCK inc.

Once an entrepreneur decides that dramatic growth is possible for her company, she can no longer run every aspect of the business.

Leading differently

Leading differently

She has to allocate her time and energy to strategic priorities and focus on achieving big goals. That means building a leadership team to whom she can delegate significant operational responsibilities, so she can find the space to promote the business and envision the future.

However, observers of women entrepreneurs say a frequent mistake women make is spending too much time working in the business, and not enough time working on it.

"Men at the same stage of growth no doubt experience many of the same challenges in carving out the time necessary for thinking and learning," says Babson College's Shubert. "But for women, the desire to throw themselves into the business 200% is very emotional. They fall in love with their business, which can make it hard to look outward, to stay open to new possibilities and to share the responsibility for growth with others."

Yet disconnecting emotionally is exactly what experienced entrepreneurs and investors recommend. "It's hard to let your firstborn go," admits serial entrepreneur and program judge Rob Scott. "But you've got to get straight in your mind what your end goal is, whether an IPO, acquisitions or an exit — and you need to have a team you can trust to pack your parachute."

Inspired by the program, many of the Entrepreneurial Winning Women have put in place new management teams designed to free them up to lead. And they have made strategic use of other tools as well, including business reporting that gives them a better handle on the state of their companies.

Sue Rice, founder and President of Cavanagh Services Group, says “Although I don’t have hundreds of employees to delegate to, I now see that as the owner, I am responsible for strategic planning and vision. If I get caught up in administrative stuff, I am not doing my company, myself or my employees any justice."

“There is no way to book loads of freight personally and still scale the business,” Carole Borden says of her transportation company. She recalls a conversation with judge Howard Brodsky that struck a chord. “Howard talked to me about the need for CEOs to have critical data visible, so we can decide when to observe and when to react.”

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