How to lead your company the right way

Tax season (for me) is here and my final income tax bill will be $0 for one main reason – Cost Segregation Studies and bonus depreciation.

DO NOT FORGET TO GET COST SEGREGATION STUDIES DONE ON YOUR REAL ESTATE. The folks at RE Cost Seg have already delivered my cost segs this year and the depreciation is mouth watering. Reach out if you’re in the market – the proposal is free.

Professional engineering reports you can count on, and they do virtual visits to turn them around even quicker.

Not sure what a cost seg is? Check out this thread.

Let’s get right to it:

A lot of people think a good business leader should have an open door policy. Always there. Always involved. Always watching.

I’m learning some of the best leaders are the opposite.

Empowering others to the extreme and only involved in very high leverage activities.

Why is it better to lead this way?

  1. When you’re in the weeds you miss a lot of the big stuff.
  2. When you don’t spend time thinking about the big picture you can’t make good decisions.
  3. You get a false sense of productivity in the tactical areas of the business when it shouldn’t be your job.
  4. 99% of problems in an organization are a distraction for the captain steering the boat. Its like a pilot being concerned with the drink order of the passenger in seat 32A.
  5. A few key decisions can make or break a business. It takes being at the right distance to make those decisions well. SO many operators are too far in the weeds to even recognize those decisions need to be made!

So what do I recommend?

Don’t buy into the hype that you need to be everything for everybody as the leader of a company.

Tell people no. Do not call the customer to smooth things over. Make your foreman do it. Do not tell your employee to get out of the way so you can solve a problem. Make them walk out of your office with their own solution to solve their own problem.

President Eisenhower famously drew a line in the sand on his first day in office when a staffer handed him a sealed envelope for him to open and address.

“Never hand me a sealed envelope. Every piece of mail must be sorted for importance.”

Basically letting his staff know that it is not his job to sort his mail. He doesn’t have time for that. He’s trying to run a country and make a few key decisions very well.

Your job as the leader of a business is not to give you cell phone number to all 200 employees. It is not to sharpen the blades on a lawn mower.

Anybody can do that.

Your job is to manage the livelihood of all the employees with the right decisions at the top. NOBODY can do your job.

It’s like a major league slugger stepping up to the plate in the bottom of the 9th and then pausing the game to solve a problem for the concession stand cashier.

Nobody else can do what you do. It is your duty to do it without distracting yourself with “productive” tasks at the bottom of the org chart.

Why is it so hard?

Because being productive feels good. The 70 hour work week is glorified. It is easier to put your head down and work harder than it is to delegate and find people you trust to make decisions and do work for you.

It is harder to train an employee how to do something when they bring you a problem than to tell them to get out of the way so you can solve it.

People ask me all the time:

How can you run 8 companies and still play golf, hang out with your family, exercise and take vacations?

My answer is always the same:

I don’t run them. I’ve found other folks who can run them. I have partners who hold equity and run each company. They are experts at what they do.

They lean on me often to get involved. Nick I need help here. This is a big problem over there.

I’ll get involved when necessary or when I can be helpful but I’ll rarely let them really lean on me. I won’t let them pull me into the weeds.

“No. Sorry. I’m not available for a meeting. I’m not available for a sales call. I will not call and apologize to that customer – you will.”

People will lean on you as a business owner as much as you allow them to. They’ll get used to whatever precedence you set.

If your employees are used to calling you and getting instant help solving their problems, they’re going to call you more often.

If your managers are used to being micromanaged and not being empowered to make their own decisions, they won’t get better at making decisions.

Now don’t get me wrong:

This is hard stuff. When you care about this and you’re a hard worker, it is very hard to stay out of the weeds. I’m writing this email with my own self in mind – preaching to myself.

One last thing:

The big decision that you know you need to make is uncomfortable. Calling an employee and firing them to serve the company is not easy. Hunting for a new office or opening up a second location is not easy.

It is much easier to get in the weeds and work 70 hours a week on the stuff that you know won’t move the needle in a large way.

Most business owners know this but they are afraid to tackle what they need to tackle.

I know many business owners who purposely ignore the hard decisions and elect to toil away at the stuff that doesn’t matter. PURPOSELY. They get a false sense of productivity at the bottom and they’re using that to neglect the big, uncomfortable stuff.

They are afraid.

Leading a company is hard for three reasons:

  1. Many times you have to make decisions that hurt people you care about.
  2. You will be disliked despite the fact that you’re doing your best to serve the most people.
  3. You will be misunderstood and you won’t be able to defend yourself.

Your job this week:

Work on getting out of the weeds. Tell your manager that you aren’t available. I won’t bail you out here. You are on your own.

Focus on the big stuff. The uncomfortable stuff. Make that big decision you’ve been procrastinating.

It is your job as a leader and it is why they pay you the big bucks.

Onward and upward,


P.S. Is it time to sell your business?

I launched a business brokerage.

We now have 800+ buyers on our distribution list.

When we get a listing we’ll do a podcast episode with the owner, a breakdown of the business to my 140,000 newsletter subscribers, and several tweets promoting the listing (I get 50 million impressions a month on Twitter).

Wanna sell your small biz? I can get you a great deal. Click here.

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.