Most solution provider leaders started out working in an IT shop somewhere. They obviously have the technical know-how and vision to see where the industry is going and have developed the skillsets to get their customers there.
Then at some point they decided they wanted to run their own business. They may have taken some business classes already or even have a business degree. They’ve got the customer relationships and IT background, so they assume the transition isn’t going to be all that hard.
However, they now must deal with a number of considerations such as infrastructure, financing, marketing, legal and benefits, to name a few. To control costs and every aspect of the company, many first-time business owners try and tackle all these issues themselves.
This is perhaps the single biggest mistake entrepreneurs make. They don’t believe anyone can do the job as well as they can, regardless of what function it is within the company, and as a result, too many of them end up creating a job for themselves instead of a career.
For sure, today’s technology has made it easier for small businesses to have a greater reach and appear larger. There are more efficient, automated ways to set up basic business functions such as payroll. Digital and mobile social channels have made it easier to target markets, develop prospects and even manage functions remotely.
However, setting up the basics of a viable business and having a vision for it are two different things. According to Proverbs, “Where there is no vision, people will perish.” That goes for businesses as well. But sometimes business owners can’t get out of their own way.
When starting a company, entrepreneurs not only must have a one-year plan, but also a three-year plan and a five-year plan. Dare I say, they should even have a 10-year vision—and not just for what they envision the company to be, but for themselves as well.
This is where the realization that they are going to have to let go comes into play. At some point in a business’s growth cycle, owners have to pass off responsibilities—and not just task-oriented or administrative functions. At some point they have to groom their replacement. They need to hire, train and then enable employees to make some decisions.
There is no room for the Peter Principle, where employees rise to their level of incompetence. This bad dynamic starts when business owners and managers don’t hire or give responsibility to individuals because they are afraid it will expose their own weaknesses. Instead, they end up building a business of mediocre employees where no one is capable of making the right decision, so the owner is always the default. It’s a control issue.
Here is where many business owners fall short. To be truly successful—and to create a successful business—they must stop managing every detail while the business is growing. It doesn’t work. Something has to give—either the growth or the execution.