Being the Face Without Becoming a Prisoner
Updated: May 2
Think about when you started your business. Maybe it was just you or a few partners at the beginning. Since then, you've added to your team (a good thing) and have learned to delegate a lot of the customer-facing work to others (a great thing). Over time, you've retreated to the background. You no longer meet with many of your current customers. Some of your employees wouldn't recognize you on the shop floor. Though having a business that can run without you is key, it is still very important to keep that presence as a founder and leading force. After all, people buy from people [companies] they trust.
So, how can you walk the fine line of being known without being involved in day-to-day activities? I've included a few easy steps as well as a couple that may take a little more courage for those of us who are happy to be out of the limelight.
Easy steps to take:
Add your picture to your email profile and/or signature. This is a simple way to keep your face front and center in email communications.
Keep your LinkedIn profile active. Whether you love or hate social media, LinkedIn is the #1 most trusted site for professionals. That means if someone is doing their research on you and your company, they're hoping to find the most accurate information. Don't add confusion by leaving outdated information on your profile page.
Show up to company-sponsored events. This is key for both internal and external purposes. Your current and future customers appreciate seeing you walk the walk. Your employees look forward to the opportunity to connect with you outside of work. Finally, your presence at these events helps enforce the idea that your core values are not just fancy words. You don’t need to attend every single event but pick and choose a few and make it a point to be there.
Steps that may take a little more courage:
Speak on behalf of your company or industry. If you aren't ready to host a full presentation yourself, find a panel to sit on. Most of the time, panelists are provided with the questions in advance so even if you aren't a trained speaker, you have time to prepare your answers. Plus, it's way less intimidating when there are a few others up on stage with you. We strongly encourage you to protect your time at all costs. Find a panel hosted by an organization you are already or wish to be involved in.
Use video to make company announcements. Again, this can be beneficial for both internal and external purposes. Internally, company messages coming straight from the founder's mouth hold quite a bit of value. This is an excellent way to introduce new initiatives, clarify plans or get the team on the same page. External messages from the founder can be used on the company's website and social media pages as well as on your own social media (ahem #2 above). Luckily, making a video announcement is as easy as taking out your phone, hitting record and sending to your Marketing team to brand.
It's easy to step aside and let others, especially those you trust, take the reins in your business. It's also not a bad thing! In fact, we encourage all of our clients to do so. However, even though you may not have your hands in every aspect of your business, or many at all, it is still key to your company's success that you, its founder, are the respected and recognized leading force behind it all. Being the face of the company can add great value to its growth, especially if you feel this role lives in the area of things you do best.
Getting out from under
We may think that if we as owners know every customer by name, we must be providing excellent service to them. However, it’s actually counterintuitive to your process for your customers to come directly to you. If you are too stuck in the day-to-day operation of your company, you won’t have time to work on building it. Check out the 2-minute video below from John Warrilow, author of Built to Sell, where he talks about why this isn’t efficient and what you can do about it.
Once you’ve watched that, take a few minutes to see how well you are doing in getting out from under the daily business.