Business advice

Acting ‘As If’ Is The Magic Ingredient For Scaling Up

By 20th September 2019 No Comments
Acting 'as if' is the magic ingredient for scaling up - Rory Finegan

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.”

William Shakespeare was more intimate with the inner workings of acting than the average person, but psychologists say it is something we all do without even realising it. Without intending to be disingenuous, we act differently around different people, whether it be family members, friends, co-workers or complete strangers.

Often, we’ll act the version of ourselves other people need or expect us to be. For example, for our children, we may emphasise our authoritative side. I know from my own experience as an employer that sometimes I have to act alert and enthusiastic because I know that’s what my team needs from me, even though I could actually have a blinding headache!

It’s a fascinating topic many psychologists have delved deeply into and, although I have only scratched the surface, there is something I’ve taken away from it that has really helped me grow as an entrepreneur and a CEO. It is the power of acting as if, or faking it until you make it…

You must grow faster than your business

If you’re here, it is because you’re interested in growth. That means your job will change. Initially, your role is being ‘on the tools’, client-facing and entrenched in operations. But now, because you are scaling up, you need to build teams around you. First, it will be operations teams, and then operations management. Where are you in this picture of your business’s future? You are focused on strategy, being a figurehead and bringing in new business. But you can’t be doing the work in the same way because that impedes growth.

How do you become the person your growing business needs you to be? My recommendation is to have a clear plan of where you are going with your business and start acting as though you are there already. For example, if you are going from 20 people to 40 people in a year, then start acting as if you’re already there now. When people ask you how many people are in your company, say 40. When they ask what’s your job, you answer with what your new job is.

Force your dreams into reality

This is not about boasting for boasting’s sake. The practice of acting as if is based on cognitive behavioural therapy which is supported by the theory that if you practice ways of being, your cognitive thinking patterns will adjust to this ‘new you’. Basically, get your mindset around what you want to be and then become it.

Instead of continuing to wear down the cogs and wheels of the role you are in now, it is time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. You simply can’t make it to €5 million without shedding the skin of your current role and that means letting go of tedious tasks such as client work and bookkeeping.

Now is your time for strategy, marketing and operations. In my own experience with Beyond, I was providing service in the beginning, then I was building teams, now I am the figurehead for the company and the next step will be Operations Director.

So, if I was to ask you, “What is your job?” how would you answer now?