By Marsha Bailey, WEV Founder & CEO
“All things are possible for those who can delegate.” At least that’s what Mike Kauffman, former WEV Board President and long time volunteer used to tell me. And then he’d smile. Because it sounds so simple, doesn’t it?
Some things are oh so easy to delegate – those would be the things you don’t like to do and/or are bad at. I would suggest there’s a high correlation between the two. What’s hard is to delegate the things you’re good at and like to do. Throw in a small dose of control freakishness (you know who you are) and you will find yourself running faster and faster on that hamster wheel. I don’t need to spin the metaphor out any further, do I?
Figuring out what is the highest and best use of your time and talent is a constantly moving target. As your business, organization or non-profit grows, the demands on your time will multiply and change. Just because you can do everything, and yes, you can probably do a lot of things better than the average employee, doesn’t mean you should. Do you have to be an “A” student at everything or is a “C” sometimes good enough?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating mediocrity. I’m just saying that all things are not equally important. If you think they are, you’ll never be able to set priorities effectively. Do you need to prepare as thoroughly for your second-grader’s career day event as you do for a keynote address to 200 potential investors? The answer should be obvious.
But sometimes the answers aren’t so obvious. You want and need to keep your finger on the pulse of your business: your product mix, your finances, customer satisfaction, etc. But you don’t have to be on the front line all the time. By all means, talk to your customers, but talk to your employees, too. That is, if you have employees. And here we come to the crux of the problem.
One of the biggest obstacles to small business growth is hiring that first employee. How will you pay them? What will they do? What will the payoff be for your business? How will you find the right person? How will you develop your own management skills? These are challenges that every business in WEV’s Thrive program are confronting every day with help from their peers, our Business Development Specialists, consultants and coaches.
So take the advice of someone who has been there and, in some cases, is still doing that. Let go of something. I guarantee, there’s something bigger just waiting for you to grasp it.