Managing Your Company of One

Each one of us is a Company of One. In fact, that is the premise of the book Resumes are Worthless. As a Company of One, each one of us is a unique business providing service in exchange for money. We are not employees, we instead are owners of our own Company of One.

Employees do not control their source of revenue, but owners have complete control over who and how they serve. <Click to Tweet>

Company of One

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons/Ben Mortimer Photography

As owners, we must first lead ourselves.

“Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself. ”  ~Thomas J. Watson


We lead ourselves by first looking at our own roles in our Company of One.


Your Roles in your Company of One

Every company has four key functions:

Operations—Operations are the everyday events of keeping the company going and serving customers. For WalMart, operations involves making sure the doors are open in the morning, making sure employees are in the store, maintaining inventory on the shelves, keeping the power and phones working, etc. Operations is a big job in most companies. We will call the person responsible for this job the COO, or Chief Operations Officer. In your company, you are the COO.


Finance—The finance function takes in the money and pays the bills. They look at how to measure profits, and keep a watch on what is profitable and what is not. They also report financial data to legal entities (IRS) and stakeholders (owners). We will call this person the CFO, or Chief Financial Officer. In your company, you are the CFO.


Research and Development—We all know of research and development as R&D. Though we most often think of these people as developing new technology and patents, I am using R&D in a larger sense. R&D is always on the lookout for new things to offer to customers—things that can improve service and things that can reduce costs. At the same time they must be watching the business environment to learn what the competition is doing and what threats are on the horizon. So R&D may have plans for less than one-year implementations of new processes as well as five-year plans. We will call the person in charge of R&D the CRO, or Chief Research Officer. In your company, you are the CRO.


Marketing and Sales—This is the group of people who are key to bringing home the money. They are responsible for presenting the product to the market, knowing what the market wants, offering input about future products, dealing with customer satisfaction, dealing with “buyer’s remorse,” and generally protecting the image of the company. We will call this person the CMO, or Chief Marketing Officer. In your company, you are the CMO.


The Buck Stops Here—Every company has a leader, and the leader is responsible for working with the people who represent and implement the four key functions. The leader is ultimately responsible for it all. They work with the team to form a strategy. We will call this person the CEO, or Chief Executive Officer. In your company—you guessed it—you are the CEO.

The Board

Collectively these people—the CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, and CRO—form what is called the Board of Directors (or simply the Board). They, as a group, make the company succeed or fail. Many companies may also have outsiders on their board—people who have a vested interest (such as investors, other owners, or stockholders) or people who can give trusted advice (such as leaders from other companies who have been tested and can provide valuable input).


Develop Your Company of One

So what about your Board? How do the functions of a major company, such as Coca-Cola, translate to the functions of your Company of One?

  1. Who is on your Board? Who else (besides you) is a trusted advisor, investor, stockholder, or stakeholder of your Company of One? (Your spouse and family are considered stakeholders.)
  2. For your Company of One, write out each role and some things you feel you are doing in each. Note areas where you feel strong and others where you feel weak.
This exercise is you taking control. Like all companies, you also need to look at how you operate. You are responsible. Only you can make the changes.

Question: Which of these roles is your weak point?   You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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