Business mentor: Discover how to really own your business

Arnon Barnes

In our latest business mentor article international speaker, trainer and business mentor Arnon Barnes explains how to own your business, instead of letting it own you.

When I’m teaching, one of my favourite questions to ask is always: How many of you own a business? As soon as I ask the question, you can see all these hands going up in the room. As we go through the programme, some very simple yet significant questions come up. That’s when most people start to realise they are not actually business owners at all.

They do not actually own a business. It is more like the business owns them. This article is all about whether you are a business owner, and if not, how you can move towards becoming one.

Firstly, it’s important to make a distinction between being a business owner and being a business operator. These are two totally different things. A lot of entrepreneurs think they are a business owner. When we take a closer look, we find that they are business operators, not owners. It’s a fact – no judgement here. One is not better than the other. It’s just important we know there’s a difference. For your own growth and future, it is good to be conscious of how you are playing the business game.

To help, answer these questions:
• In your business, who does the marketing? Who does the selling? Who does the delivery of your product or your service?
• Who is responsible for running the back end? Sending out invoices, making sure payments are received from your clients and given to your suppliers?
• Who is in charge of customer relations?
• Who is in charge of innovation within the business?

If you said yes to any of these questions, you are most likely an operator – and I recommend that you explore how to become more of a business owner. 
I believe you can make the transition with four key actions. The first step is to change or increase your awareness. By answering the above questions, you have already started that process. You may have realised that you as the business owner are also the business operator. As business operator you are potentially your business’s biggest blessing, but also possibly its biggest curse. And that is sometimes a hard pill for people to swallow – even with their super-powers, gifts and talents. You probably built your business up right from the first idea, concept, to actually adding value to the marketplace. Now there is always that chance that YOU are stopping your business from growing and being stuck in the operator’s seat is most likely the number one reason.

If you want to take your business to ten or even a hundred million you have to remove yourself from the business in some way, shape or form. Don’t get me wrong. If you love doing the marketing and it’s your super-power, then do the marketing! Equally, if you love the delivery/fulfilment side of the business, then do that. Do whatever makes your heart sing. What I’m talking about is having the choice, having the option. Unfortunately many business operators feel like they do not have a choice. And as a result, they limit themselves and the growth of their business.

I like to ask business owners if they think their business would pass the ‘revolver test’. Would yours? What would happen to your business if I put a gun to your head and I pull the trigger? This sounds rather graphic, but just bear with me for a moment. If you are not here, alive and kicking, what would happen to your business over a week or a month? Even in three, six or 12 months?

Would your business thrive when you’re not there managing and dealing with every little detail, or would it nose-dive? As I said earlier, that’s an important question because you might be your business’s greatest asset, but also its greatest curse. Get out of your own way to let your business grow. Stop thinking that you’re the only one that can do ‘it’. Create a strategic hiring plan based on your business plans.

BUSINESS MENTOR Arnon Barnes International coach
Arnon Barnes International coach

The second thing you must get comfortable with is ‘delegating’ and giving parts of your business operations to other people. The answer is to build a team to which you can delegate some of the work. Maybe it’s 10%, 20% or even 50% of the workload. Or maybe your game plan is to step out completely and delegate 100%. Maybe you want to create a legal money-making machine that adds tremendous value to the marketplace regardless of whether you are in the business, out of the business or lying on the beach.

The third really important ‘must do’ is, “Learn to say NO”. When you are hustling and growing your business, opportunities will inevitably show up. It’s so easy to say yes. Yes to everything! In the beginning, it’s important to say yes, because you want to show the universe that you are a person that attracts opportunities – that you look at opportunities and use them. A wise person though will know that for every rule there is an exception. And I see so many business owners stretch themselves too thin, so they do not have the capacity and bandwidth for all their yes’s. Make sure you laser focus!

If you want to achieve greatness, and take your business, your money, your life, to the next level, this will be based more on your ability to say no than on your willingness to say yes. You can have a great opportunity that you accepted, and the cash flow is coming in and business is booming. And then you say yes to an opportunity that can cause your business to regress. It can hurt your cashflow, business, time and energy. It will hamper your progress. Saying no is essential if you want to switch from business operator to business owner. 

The fourth essential step is to have a vision of how you want to live your life. Be inspired by the results that you get and want to get and how those results will impact the future life you want.

To recap: if you want to go from business operator to business owner, you must:
1. Have awareness. Are you the biggest blessing or bottleneck to your business?
2. Delegate. You need to build a team.
3. Say NO to opportunities that do not match your focus.
4. Visualise how you want your life to look in the long run.

Do you want to meet and work with Arnon Barnes live? Or join one of his next upcoming offline or online events? For more information on the events or coaching, contact his office via or check out his website

To watch his interviews and podcast appearances, please subscribe to his Instagram and YouTube Channel.

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