Working with start-ups and young businesses I have noticed that many of the founders have no clue what they need to do as the leader as the CEO. They want to be one of the team; it’s scary to be in the forefront to set the direction and to lead the way  They want to be liked by the team. Worse yet they feel they are an imposter.  Why should anyomne listen to them or buy from them…. So many fears.

I heard an interesting TED talk  from Mike Cannon- Brookes who described the imposter syndrome that many CEOs feel at every stage. How do you remedy this? As you hear the talk, you realize it impacts people at every stage.

The answer is you keep moving forward and make sure you have the key elements in the foundation of the business. It means knowing where to go for resources and answers, having a plan, being able to delegate and look to the future while operating in the present.  Not easy but it is effective. It means being strategic and having the vision and plan that others will implement, while letting others implement.

This is an issue I am seeing more and more with entrepreneurs in start-ups. This is their baby and they think they need to do it all.  Sadly, unless you never need to sleep or have a life outside the business you cannot grow if you do not delegate and share the work.

Aside from having others support so you can focus on your strengths and purpose in the business; having assistance helps you see other perspectives.  You have been too close to the action and others may see something you missed, which enables you to grow.

What are some of the simple steps you can take to eliminate the feeling of overwhelm and Keep the business moving forward?

  1. Assess your strengths what do like to do and what are you good at doing? Be careful here. Sometimes we do mundane tasks as a means of avoiding the big stuff.
  2. Create an organizational chart of what the business could look like in 5 years. Write job descriptions for each position.  What skills should the individual have and what competencies.Then prioritize when you will hire those people
  3. Identify the areas you feel comfortable delegating
  4. Here’s the tricky part; when you delegate set clear expectations and monitor the results as you go along. Be specific.
  5. Create a culture of what the working environment should look like. Will it be a laid back relaxed place or high pressure, or something in between?
  6. When you hire for the job descriptions, hire for growth. You want each person to grow with the company.  Just in time hiring is expensive and a waste of training time.
  7. Identify key advisors who can be a sounding board and help you identify resources, discover your strengths and name those areas that need to be delegated first.
  8. Make sure to have polices and procedures for everyone.
  9. Revisit the SWOT analysis quarterly
  10. Continue to learn everything you can about your industry, your business and the competition. One way is to have your staff or colleagues supply the information  ( Think Mastermind groups).
  11. Be aware of trends


  • Begin to get overwhelmed with small details of office management, which takes your attention away from the big picture.
  • Find yourself with no one to challenge your thinking, because you’re the only one with all the answers.
  • Are not challenging yourself on a regular basis.

It’s time to let go so you can work on your business; focus on the reason you started in the beginning. Let go of what you’re comfortable doing. You always need to be moving forward and challenging yourself.

The feelings that you aren’t “all that”  may still be there but now you know you have done what you can to reduce them.and move forward.