You Are Not Your Business

22 February 2022

It might be an uncomfortable phrase to many of you, but let me say it again, you are not your business.


Often founders struggle to define themselves outside of their business. They choose a business they are passionate about and forge them through blood, sweat, and tears. It might seem counterintuitive to suggest that you shouldn’t define yourself by your business – surely the more attached you are, the more successful it will become, right? Not in our experience. In fact, it’s likely to have a detrimental effect on both you and your business.


Tying your identity to a business traps you in it


While you might dream of scaling up or even retiring, you probably have some fear around the idea of handing over control. That fear might be a lack of trust in your team – more likely, deep down, it’s the fear of stepping away from the thing that defines you. 


We see this reluctance in all kinds of businesses, and it results in them becoming frozen. Your team becomes frustrated, because you’re always meddling, and you get frustrated because you feel like nothing’s done right if you don’t do it yourself. It’s the start of a dangerous cycle, which breeds resentment, high turnover, and confusion about the direction of the company. 


Add that cycle to the heavy burden of feeling like a failure when your business has a bad day (or year), and far from your business being ready to scale – you’re heading straight for burn out. 


Preparing to step back


Many small business owners talk-the-talk about wanting to step away from the daily grind – but when it comes down to it, they can’t imagine what the company would look like if they walked away. It takes an active plan and a bit of courage on your part. The first thing to accept is that you are not your business. Mindset is everything. Stop searching for external validation through the success of your company, and instead pay more attention to other parts of your life. 


It’s likely that you’ve made sacrifices for the sake of your business, but prioritising it above all else is a recipe for disaster. Nurture your relationships, hobbies, and homelife. You have a purpose outside of your work, you just need to acknowledge and appreciate it!


In work, make an effort to understand the roles within your business and fill the gaps to create a balanced skill set. Set effective SMART goals and make sure your time is productive by limiting lengthy, ambiguous meetings. We love the EOS Level 10 Meeting Agenda for getting the most out of our time. You should be working on your business, not in it. Get the headlines and plan strategically, then trust your team to get things done. 

Get your people behind you

To be successful in business, you need to look after your people, that’s common knowledge. But to do that, you need to be in a good place yourself. Remember what airlines always say – you must place your own oxygen mask on before helping others. Still, it’s hard to be the best you can be if you’re an island. People are being encouraged to ask for help more than ever, but asking the right person for the right help is key.

A good partner in business should be able to help you achieve your goals, both professional and personal. This means letting them know your personal goals in the first place. It can be lonely at the top, but having a partner in business can help you feel less isolated and more clear about the future.


More than just the finance experts, at FD Works we want to support our clients and other SME founders however we can

We know that even in the good times, owning an SME can be challenging. We’ve been there. If you find yourself struggling to let go of the reins for fear of losing who you are, get in touch to see how we can help.

Give us a call on 01454 300999 or drop us an email at