The question in the headline: “Who are you accountable to?” is a sticky one for entrepreneurs, especially if they are small business owners who are performing every function of the business–product creation, sales/marketing, administration, production, leadership and chief technician. You wear all the hats and are frankly accountable to no one but yourself. Most likely, that is why you started your own business.
In fact, the nature of the question actually insinuates you should be accountable to someone other than yourself. But, is that true? Isn’t it possible that you can and will be the person that you are accountable to, and that you as a solopreneur have the ability to compartmentalize your functions so that you can be accountable to yourself? Yes! That is possible. What is important is that you are accountable to someone, even if that someone is YOU.
So, what is accountability? According to the Webster’s Dictionary –Accountability: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions
The strength of the definition is in the phrase to account for one’s actions. In order to be able to be accountable, one has to design measurable results for each of the functions of the business. The measurable results are most powerful when they are quantifiable, specific, and also have a “by when” date attached. When you do that then you have set up a way to be accountable to yourself. Your planning does not have to elaborate, but it does have to have at least the minimum categories of what, by when and how much. There are a ton of ways to plan for your business offered both on the internet and in business books. Keeping in mind that simple plans are usually easier to implement than detailed plans with minute categories and subcategories.
Following this simple plan based on accountability will give you the structure you need to review the success of your business. It will also make your business successful since you are being accountable for its success. As your business grows you may want to engage someone to work with you to continue to grow your business. If you already have a habit of accountability, you will be able to expect others who you hire to be accountable too. Accountability allows you to set a standard of performance that will ensure that your business is outstanding.