You can’t grow a business by yourself

Do you do everything in your business yourself – or just the important things?

Today I got into a bit of an argument on Twitter (nothing new there).

It started with someone moaning about having to get up at ridiculous hours to attend to their business and me responding by saying that as they own the business they should employ someone to do this particular task.

It’s an important part of the business and led to a discussion about whether critical tasks should be delegated or not.

My view is that yes, they should.

Business owners are there to manage the business, to make decisions, to keep track of cashflow and consistently review how the business is working and make improvements where they’re needed. As soon as the business is big enough, *everything* else should be delegated.

If the business owner is the only one who can be trusted with a critical task it means that the business is too vulnerable and at risk and is probably unsaleable.

Then we got into “what if the person the critical task is delegated to doesn’t do it properly?” Well, it is the owner’s job to check that it is being done properly and make sure people are properly trained or replaced. Delegation doesn’t mean abdication.

If your business is so small that you’re still doing everything yourself, and you’re happy with that that’s fine, but if you want it to grow you need to have a plan and that plan will very likely involve you stepping away from all of the stuff you do now and managing other people who will do it instead – and that’s a whole other skill set.

Basically, if your business is big enough to employ people and it still can’t run without you, there’s something wrong.

If you’d like to talk about how to grow YOUR business, get in touch

3 replies
  1. Miltoncontact
    Miltoncontact says:

    The beauty is of course that you can employ help at various levels of commitment, from contracting a company to do the work for you to employing someone permanently. Account services are often the first obvious choice.
    I find myself both at the employer and the employee end. With larger projects, I bring in other partner companies who I have come to know and trust to expand my services. As a service provider, I am in turn employed by others for task they need doing. Again, it is a matter of building trust.
    Business and social networking are ideal tools to get to know businesses and their people well in advance and therefore being more comfortable in choosing someone when the need arises.

  2. jonbuscall
    jonbuscall says:

    This is such an important post and one that really resonates with me. I like working as part of a team of two or three, managing the whole project, but I can see that it’s incredibly reliant on myself AND very difficult to grow. Now I’m going to go away and worry :=)

  3. TheLizWeston
    TheLizWeston says:

    I spent my Christmas holidays a few years ago reading a book about growing your business. And the one thing that I took from it was that if I wanted to grow my business I needed to take the jobs that were done repeatedly – whether it was invoices, ordering stationery, doing financial reconciliation or just scheduling monthly meetings with clients. 
    So two weeks later I put the word out that I was looking for someone. And Hannah came to me via a friend, and has had a transformational effect upon the business. So if you are thinking about delegating, I’d say do it. Use someone as a freelancer at first, on a fixed number of hours that’s small and then build it over time…..
    Liz Weston aka TheLizWeston

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