Business improvement advice on today’s edition of The Methodology Blog comes in a guest post from Carlo Pandian. He writes about how to retain control over your business even after significant growth.
When your business starts to expand, the temptation can be to treat it exactly as you did when you were in the early days of starting up; you try to control every aspect yourself. However, you may find that the more control you try to exert, the more aspects of your business tend to slip between your fingers.
This is completely understandable, but not necessarily practical; you see your business as your baby. After all, it was you who created it and you who saw it through its first faltering steps; no one knows your business like you do. But maybe now is the time to let other people step in, and perhaps in order to maintain full and effective control, you need to give a little bit of it up.
Avoiding Burn Out
The first signs that you need to delegate are usually the early symptoms of the business owner’s worst enemy: burn out. You’ll find that you’re working longer hours, take fewer holidays and are more of a hindrance than a help to your colleagues. Let this go on any longer and you will burn out, which will make you absolutely useless to your own company. So by delegating, you are ensuring that the load is lightened from your shoulders and that you can continue to be the dominant force in the workplace.
Delegating doesn’t mean that you are giving up complete control to someone else, but it does mean that you can apportion sections of responsibility to others. Now might be the time to hire yourself a personal assistant or appoint someone to answer the phones. You might want to take on a part-time office assistant to deal with paperwork and invoices, or even call in a specialist if you are entering an area of business that you have little experience of. These services all cost money, but they also allow you to focus completely on the important aspects of running a business, rather than having to cope with the daily minutiae. Alternatively, if your budget won’t stretch to personnel, why not invest in small business bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks?
Build a Team
In addition, now might be the time to introduce some responsibility to your employees by giving them the power to make certain decisions without your say-so. This could be the beginning of laying the foundations for strong and effective teamwork. It’s widely accepted that the employee who is closest to the action is the one who is best positioned to make informed decisions. So as long as you set the guidelines for these eventualities and are secure in the idea that your employee understands the philosophies behind your business, you can delegate the ‘best person for the job’ without worrying. Your authority is never undermined through taking this step; it’s actually reinforced as you display trust in your staff. In addition, your employees will develop a vested interest in the way the business performs and you may find that, by taking a step back, its efficiency actually increases.
The trick is not to confuse presence with control. Just because you’re in the office, it doesn’t mean you’re being useful! If there are tasks that others can do on your behalf, then it gives you the breathing space to get on with other, more proactive responsibilities.
Carlo Pandian is a management graduate who is based in Australia and the UK. He loves contributing to business publications such as Small Businesses Do It Better, Under30CEO. Recently one of his posts was picked up by The New York Times! When he’s not online, Carlo loves visiting art exhibitions and cycling around town.