From Leadership to Entrepreneurship

Ruth Kudzi16

I was reflecting this morning that I had over a decade of leadership experience when I started up my own business. At the time I didn't realise how useful this was to me, however on reflection it helped develop who I am and my business success. 

When you lead teams and projects you gain valuable skills that you can use when you have your own business, in this blog I will discuss what they are and how they can help you.

People Management – The largest team I have lead had 25 people in it but even if you only manage 1 person you get valuable experience. I think I learnt as much about Psychology managing a diverse range of people than I did in my MA! Your communication skills and delegation abilities are tested. It is your role to get the most out of your team and to ensure they are performing and happy. 

This is where I found coaching really useful and I used it a lot, however it wasn't always the best method. I learnt to be adaptable and flexible – what works with someone doesn't work with someone else.

I also learnt how important it is to value your employees and to recognise what they do. Compassion and humility go a long way and that is the same in business – even if you are yet to have a team think about the way you interact with people. If you are building your own team how can you get the best out of them? learn to understand how they work and how to support them and you will build a successful business. 

Delegation – You can't do everything yourself. You really can't.

I am going to be honest I sometimes used to be one of those managers that would do things for my team. I stopped when I realised I was running myself into the ground and they weren't upskilling or developing. 

When you have your own business you might need to do everything at the start but as soon as you can outsource, focus on what you enjoy are passionate about and can monetise. 

I was used to having IT, Finance, HR and admin at my fingertips plus others to delegate tasks to BUT I always maintained authority and accountability. It is exactly the same when you have your own business, you need to understand the process that you are outsourcing but you don't need to be an expert in it! 

I remember when I first managed people I gave them tasks and then I was upset when they weren't exactly how I had wanted.. I hadn't been clear enough in my communication so I changed. When you have your own business you need to be really clear with everyone you work with about who you are and what you do – I have found a branding board and a briefing document help.

Mindset I have had some very challenging times in my leadership journey often due to the context of the situation I was working in.

When you are in a position of authority you need to act like it and it is the same when you are a business owner. Having a CEO mindset from the start and being focused and mentally prepared are key.

People want someone who is professional and they trust in any industry so focus on you and developing these attributes. 

Your values We all have values that drive us, they drive how we are as a leader and what is important to us.

The best thing is when you are a business owner these values can shape your business more as you have complete autonomy (a win: win)

Strategy You are used to developing strategy, setting goals and having action plans. I have been doing these for years so it came as second nature to do them for my own business.

Equally you know how these can change with different influences and you review them regularly. 

If you have been in a leadership role the risk of leaving often feels higher – you have an established career and a decent salary so it can seem scary to leave. I work with women who are in mid-senior level leadership positions to help them make that move into entrepreneurship. In my experience success in one role helps success as a business owner as you have taken those skills and experience with you.

To find out how I can help you make the leap book a free discovery call here:

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