Most business owners I meet want to grow their business. It’s the best way to harness one of the key benefits of owning a business: leveraging other people’s time. The more people you have, the more jobs you can be running, and the more revenue you can earn.
However, most owners fail to make the most of their potential because they’re not good people-managers or delegators. And herein lies the problem: people can’t be managed, they can only be led. So with intent, the focus should be on empowering your team.
In his seminal book The E Myth, Michael Gerber suggests that building a successful business requires business owners to tap into three different business personalities at various times: entrepreneur, manager and technician. The entrepreneur skills help define, create and maximise the business; the technician does the hands-on work; and the manager is the bridge between the two, organising resources to ensure the work gets done on time and to the level required. You need all three to run a successful business.
However, most small business owners get sucked into being the technician, and lose sight of the other important aspects - at the detriment of their lifestyle, and the business’ success.
It’s easy to understand why. When you need to get a job done, you want to ensure it’s done right; and if you’re under time pressure, it’s definitely quicker to just jump on the tools and do it yourself. But if you want to build a business that doesn’t rely on you - meaning you can go on holidays when you want, or spend more time with your family - you need to devote time to being a manager and organising others to do the work.
The long term benefits of taking the time to train and mentor your team are worth the short term pain. This is especially true if you want to build a business asset you can one day sell for top dollar; a business that doesn’t rely on the owner to do the work is worth far more to a buyer.
Ultimately, the role of the owner should be equally split between leadership, growth, protection and space. (I’ll expand on this in my next article.)
- If you do a task regularly, meaning it is repeatable, you should train a team member to do it.
- If you want to delegate a task, document your process for completing it in detail so that the team member has a best-practice guide to getting it done. Then have them sit with you while you do it, so they can add additional detail to your process. (You make gloss over things that are innate or obvious to you.)
- Give ongoing feedback throughout the delegation process, including once the job is completed.
- People generally need to do a task at least 3 times before they are self-sufficient.
- Always make yourself available for questions. It can disrupt your day, but the payoff is worth it.
Get awesome business-building tips in my latest book, Have Your Cake And Sell It Too - the 7 Key Ingredients of Business Success.