If you are a trainer with aspirations of growing your business beyond the limitations of you own production with clients, adopting the mindset of a CEO is critical.

I'm of the belief that your business should serve you and your dreams. It should give you greater freedom, not less. In fact, your business should ultimately function without you, not because of you. It should run effectively and automatically whether you are in the gym or not. Your business should not depend upon your personality, problem solving and perspiration for its daily survival. If so, your business does not work - you do!

Stay with me on this as I'm a trainer and business owner, just like you, and I know that our businesses often are built upon our name recognition and personal reputation. Because I've struggled with this concept too, I also know that it's a challenging transition, but it's an essential shift if you're looking for long-term success and fulfillment.

Stop for a moment and think of the consequences if everything in your business must flow through you and is dependent upon you. As a single human being, there are natural limits to the amount of work, transactions, problems and decisions that can flow effectively through you in a given day. You become the bottleneck in your quest for growth, greater financial reward and more freedom. What would happen to your business and income if you were somehow unable to work?

So how do you transition an existing business that's based on you and where everything must flow through you? You must adopt a strategic mindset. You must adopt new attitudes and strategic approaches.

Personally, I needed a coach to help me through this process. It takes effort, practice, reminders and reinforcement since our daily habits are deeply ingrained. We're programmed to dig in and work harder, yet oftentimes that leads to more employee actions rather than strategic CEO action.

Create a plan to get outside of your work environment for four hours each week just to reflect upon your business. Where do you want to grow in 2009? In three years from now? Five years? Begin to craft a vision and plan.

Replace yourself in the technical trenches. Get comfortable being the CEO of your business, make that mindset shift, and reinforce it. Would Bill Gates take a technical call from someone having problems with Windows XP? How many hours are you spending doing technical work each week? Begin to scale it back.

Make a list of all the duties you perform each day. Which of these tasks are worth the hourly rate of a CEO? Begin to delegate all tasks that someone else can do and aren't worth your $200/hour CEO salary. Allow yourself to become comfortable with someone else doing your non-CEO duties, even if they don't do it perfectly or exactly as you would. It's critical that you let go and free up your time for high-leverage, high-income activities.

Then invest the time you're saving from delegating your tasks to take a look at what processes you're employing effectively in your business as well as the ones that need improvement. Plan a few hours each week improving the way you do business (your systems).

And finally, find key areas in your business that you can optimize for additional leverage. Are there programs you offer that you can find a higher return or offer in to a new market? Can you reach more people in the same amount of time with what you offer?

Growing a business requires a new way of thinking - a mindset shift. Work smarter, not harder. It requires us to shed the old and embrace the new, a change from technician to CEO. But the rewards are significant - let's get started on this transition today!

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