Originally published on Inc Magazine’s Process Playbook column by Chris Ronzio
Starting a business can mean wearing a lot of hats. Building a sustainable business requires mastering three of them.
As an entrepreneur, you can feel a schizophrenic sense of wearing so many different hats and managing so many different personalities within your business, depending on what is demanded of you on a certain day.
Last week, I was at an event in Huntington Beach, CA with Wake Up Warrior, and the guy that started it, Garrett J. White, taught something really interesting.
He explained that every business owner wears three distinct hats, or has three different personalities that they need to manage to really be successful.
You need to be an Entrepreneur, you need to be a CEO, and you need to be a Guru.
This three-personality approach is what helps you to keep things in balance at your company, because each role serves to counteract and assist each other role. And, chances are, you’ve forgotten to invite at least one of them to the party, like I have.
Let’s start with the entrepreneur.
The Entrepreneur – The Money Maker
As an entrepreneur, you are hustling and grinding and getting the job done. Maybe you’re a solopreneur, and your day-to-day is filled with doing work on your time that you used to do on someone else’s dime. Maybe you’re scaling a business, but employees still turn to you to dive into the trenches and to lead by doing.
The entrepreneur inside all of us is the one that has the ideas, the creativity, and the spark of brilliance to create value in the marketplace and make money from whatever product or service that you’re selling.
As an entrepreneur, you are always creating value and making money. But, that entrepreneur inside also has severe shiny object syndrome (SOS).
Each time we build something and grow tired of it, we burn it down and build something else. We jump from one project or one business to another. We make money, and then we spend it all.
It’s easy to get distracted, and that isn’t the way to build a sustainable business.
That’s when the next persona has to kick in, and that is the CEO.
The CEO – The Money Keeper
Now, the CEO in your business is the one whose job it is to keep money. All of the money that the Entrepreneur made must be turned over to the CEO to analyze, protect, and deploy in the best interest of your business.
The first thing that you need to do is to take some money off of the table. As the CEO, it’s your job to maintain the health of the business, and to protect the business from all of the idiotic things that the entrepreneur will likely do.
So, look at the money that comes into your bank account, and take some off the table to build up a savings that you can operate from and make decisions from in the future.
As you hide money from yourself, it reactivates the entrepreneur in you, because when you are short on resources, the entrepreneur lights up with enthusiasm and steps in to solve the problem.
Now, as your business becomes more mature, the third personality will kick in, and that is the Guru.
The Guru – The Investor
If you’ve followed any of the billionaires out there like Richard Branson, you’ve seen them take the stage or join an interview with an incredible sense of calm. Everything is sunshine and rainbows, and they exude confidence.
They have to, because it’s the Guru’s job to be the inspirational leader for the business or the movement and to cast a vision for everyone inside. The Guru is the one that guides the most profitable investments that your business makes, and grows the money that you’ve amassed.
This is someone we all need to become as we mature and grow our businesses. The Guru is the charismatic figurehead that pursues the biggest goals and solves the most macro challenges that we face.
The Guru sets the vision, the CEO maintains order and sets the milestones on the way to the vision, and the entrepreneur sets the day to day tone to make it happen.
As Garrett explained, in every successful business you will find someone at the top with all three of these personalities. If you need help making money, keeping money, or growing money, the next step in your business could be to become more comfortable in one of these roles.
First learn to make the money, then learn to protect it, and then learn to multiply it.