Entrepreneurs sometimes fall into the Expert trap. They start their businesses on the basis of their own technical expertise, and add people to the company when their own two hands can no longer handle the workload. While the growth in staff adds capacity, the Expert business owner continues to find himself or herself burdened with responsibility for too much of the day-to-day. Because the founder is the person with the most know-how, he or she is the daily troubleshooter, quoter, keeper of the hard jobs, etc. Do you have this issue? In your company, are you always the smartest one in the room? If so, you had better change rooms. OR change who’s in the room with you.
Your business is limited by your perspective. When you are the primary producer, your business is limited by your ability to see the forest while walking among the trees and bending down to pick up twigs. You can’t see where you are going when you are looking down. Early on it is easy to assume that the time you put in is “free”, so it is tempting to keep hard costs down by doing some of the work yourself. Letting it go on past your startup phase is a mistake. If you are not making money, why are you in business in the first place?
Is it a comfort (or fear) issue? Some owners find it easier to stick with using the skills they acquired over the years. They prefer to keep their hands dirty and directly on the products and services they produce. They get so busy working IN the business that they neglect working ON the business. They know the business suffers as a result, but they don’t plan, don’t sell, don’t lead, don’t take good care of their finances.
If you want to grow, you are going to need to add a person (or two, or ten, or fifty!) who can get the nitty-gritty done. And if you want to really grow you are going to need to hire some senior people with expertise that you do not already have. They can fulfill some responsibilities that you can’t or do not want to do yourself. And if you are secure in yourself, you allow those people to challenge your assumptions and expand your thinking.
Your business is limited by your skill set. What have you done lately to “sharpen the saw”, as Stephen Covey would say it? Are you getting smarter yourself by going to conferences, taking classes, or reading books? Are you making opportunities to interact with other people, experts in your field, who know more than you do? And are you taking your new information back to implement it in your business?
What rooms should you be in that you are not in right now? What people can you add to the rooms inside your business to raise the corporate IQ and push you and everyone else to the next level? In what ways do you need to get over yourself and make yourself vulnerable enough to learn, risk failure, and stretch? Want your business to grow? You know you want to. So go find some rooms already!