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Owners set the goals, managers execute them

In all companies, the role of managers is to execute goals set to them by the company owner(s), possibly (in larger companies) through a intermediary structure like the board.

As a manager, including the general manager or CEO, you are an agent of the owner, given stewardship over their company (it's not yours unless you're a shareholder) and responsibility for implementing their goals for that company, whatever (within boundaries of law and morality) they happen to be. Your role includes developing strategies to fulfil these goals and executing them, but it does not include setting these goals. You can and should advise the owner (or the board) on the strategic directions you recommend, but you don't get to decide that; your domain of decisions is on how to execute the goals, not about the ultimate goals themselves. If you want to put him "in his place", well, telling you what strategy you should pursue is exactly "his place". If you don't agree with the goals, you should either fulfil your role and faithfully act to achieve these goals nonetheless, or quit because you're unwilling to do your main job - act as a responsible agent for the owner.

Your job does include setting the goals for the rest of the company but all these goals should fit the direction where the owners want to steer it; they're just delegated subgoals of whatever goals the owners give to you.

What are your goals ?

It appears that there's a misunderstanding about the goals your company has. You're saying "we're trying to build a customer base and a reputation" but is it actually the purpose that's given to you by the owner? The rest of the question suggests that it's not. The trade-off between future growth and current profitability is a somewhat arbitrary strategic choice that the owner may make; it may be that the owner is willing to invest money to achieve rapid growth for the sake of future revenue; and it may be that the owner wants you to achieve as much short-term profitability as possible to gain a return on earlier investments. If the owner wants to exit a market that doesn't show long-term potential (in their view) it might also be reasonable to 'milk the company to death', i.e. extract as much revenue as possible with an expectation to shut it down when all the goodwill and reputation is converted to cash and paid out in dividends.

What you actually should do is to come up with a proposal for a 'strategy document' and a future plan for your company, meet up with the owner, and discuss it (and revise it!) until you have a shared understanding of what the owner wants. You don't need to come to a consensus and want the same thing, you but need to understand and define what they want to achieve with their company. The other answers have all kinds of suggestions and guesses what the owner's plans may be - however, you need to get to the actual truth, and have it explicitly written down. After that you would know what is the strategy you're tasked to execute, and then you can make an informed decision whether you are eager to actually do so or not.

Owners set the goals, managers execute them

In all companies, the role of managers is to execute goals set to them by the company owner(s), possibly (in larger companies) through a intermediary structure like the board.

As a manager, including the general manager or CEO, you are an agent of the owner, given stewardship over their company (it's not yours unless you're a shareholder) and responsibility for implementing their goals for that company, whatever (within boundaries of law and morality) they happen to be. Your role includes developing strategies to fulfil these goals and executing them, but it does not include setting these goals. You can and should advise the owner (or the board) on the strategic directions you recommend, but you don't get to decide that; your domain of decisions is on how to execute the goals, not about the goals themselves. If you don't agree with the goals, you should either fulfil your role and faithfully act to achieve these goals nonetheless, or quit.

What are your goals ?

It appears that there's a misunderstanding about the goals your company has. You're saying "we're trying to build a customer base and a reputation" but is it actually the purpose that's given to you by the owner? The rest of the question suggests that it's not. The trade-off between future growth and current profitability is a somewhat arbitrary strategic choice that the owner may make; it may be that the owner is willing to invest money to achieve rapid growth for the sake of future revenue; and it may be that the owner wants you to achieve as much short-term profitability as possible to gain a return on earlier investments. If the owner wants to exit a market that doesn't show long-term potential (in their view) it might also be reasonable to 'milk the company to death', i.e. extract as much revenue as possible with an expectation to shut it down when all the goodwill and reputation is converted to cash and paid out in dividends.

What you actually should do is to come up with a proposal for a 'strategy document' and a future plan for your company, meet up with the owner, and discuss it (and revise it!) until you have a shared understanding of what the owner wants. You don't need to come to a consensus and want the same thing, you but need to understand and define what they want to achieve with their company. The other answers have all kinds of suggestions and guesses what the owner's plans may be - however, you need to get to the actual truth, and have it explicitly written down. After that you would know what is the strategy you're tasked to execute, and then you can make an informed decision whether you are eager to actually do so or not.

Owners set the goals, managers execute them

In all companies, the role of managers is to execute goals set to them by the company owner(s), possibly (in larger companies) through a intermediary structure like the board.

As a manager, including the general manager or CEO, you are an agent of the owner, given stewardship over their company (it's not yours unless you're a shareholder) and responsibility for implementing their goals for that company, whatever (within boundaries of law and morality) they happen to be. Your role includes developing strategies to fulfil these goals and executing them, but it does not include setting these goals. You can and should advise the owner (or the board) on the strategic directions you recommend, but you don't get to decide that; your domain of decisions is on how to execute the goals, not about the ultimate goals themselves. If you want to put him "in his place", well, telling you what strategy you should pursue is exactly "his place". If you don't agree with the goals, you should either fulfil your role and faithfully act to achieve these goals nonetheless, or quit because you're unwilling to do your main job - act as a responsible agent for the owner.

Your job does include setting the goals for the rest of the company but all these goals should fit the direction where the owners want to steer it; they're just delegated subgoals of whatever goals the owners give to you.

What are your goals ?

It appears that there's a misunderstanding about the goals your company has. You're saying "we're trying to build a customer base and a reputation" but is it actually the purpose that's given to you by the owner? The rest of the question suggests that it's not. The trade-off between future growth and current profitability is a somewhat arbitrary strategic choice that the owner may make; it may be that the owner is willing to invest money to achieve rapid growth for the sake of future revenue; and it may be that the owner wants you to achieve as much short-term profitability as possible to gain a return on earlier investments. If the owner wants to exit a market that doesn't show long-term potential (in their view) it might also be reasonable to 'milk the company to death', i.e. extract as much revenue as possible with an expectation to shut it down when all the goodwill and reputation is converted to cash and paid out in dividends.

What you actually should do is to come up with a proposal for a 'strategy document' and a future plan for your company, meet up with the owner, and discuss it (and revise it!) until you have a shared understanding of what the owner wants. You don't need to come to a consensus and want the same thing, you but need to understand and define what they want to achieve with their company. The other answers have all kinds of suggestions and guesses what the owner's plans may be - however, you need to get to the actual truth, and have it explicitly written down. After that you would know what is the strategy you're tasked to execute, and then you can make an informed decision whether you are eager to actually do so or not.

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source | link

Owners set the goals, managers execute them

In all companies, the role of managers is to execute goals set to them by the company owner(s), possibly (in larger companies) through a intermediary structure like the board.

As a manager, including the general manager or CEO, you are an agent of the owner, given stewardship over their company (it's not yours unless you're a shareholder) and responsibility for implementing their goals for that company, whatever (within boundaries of law and morality) they happen to be. Your role includes developing strategies to fulfil these goals and executing them, but it does not include setting these goals. You can and should advise the owner (or the board) on the strategic directions you recommend, but you don't get to decide that; your domain of decisions is on how to execute the goals, not about the goals themselves. If you don't agree with the goals, you should either fulfil your role and faithfully act to achieve these goals nonetheless, or quit.

What are your goals ?

It appears that there's a misunderstanding about the goals your company has. You're saying "we're trying to build a customer base and a reputation" but is it actually the purpose that's given to you by the owner? The rest of the question suggests that it's not. The trade-off between future growth and current profitability is a somewhat arbitrary strategic choice that the owner may make; it may be that the owner is willing to invest money to achieve rapid growth for the sake of future revenue; and it may be that the owner wants you to achieve as much short-term profitability as possible to gain a return on earlier investments. If the owner wants to exit a market that doesn't show long-term potential (in their view) it might also be reasonable to 'milk the company to death', i.e. extract as much revenue as possible with an expectation to shut it down when all the goodwill and reputation is converted to cash and paid out in dividends.

What you actually should do is to come up with a proposal for a 'strategy document' and a future plan for your company, meet up with the owner, and discuss it (and revise it!) until you have a shared understanding of what the owner wants. You don't need to come to a consensus and want the same thing, you but need to understand and define what they want to achieve with their company. The other answers have all kinds of suggestions and guesses what the owner's plans may be - however, you need to get to the actual truth, and have it explicitly written down. After that you would know what is the strategy you're tasked to execute, and then you can make an informed decision whether you are eager to actually do so or not.