Many a talented employee has yearned to make the leap to business owner. But being a highly skilled employee doesn’t automatically make one a highly confident entrepreneur. These go-getters can be surprised to find they have left behind the clearly defined job descriptions of the corporate world for the many hats and long hours of running their own business.
According to The MaxOut Group’s Zenovia Andrews, though, it’s not always necessary to work endless hours to build a new venture. “Entrepreneurs need to be the brains and oversight of the operation. It’s not wise to work for your own business. Sixteen-hour days get entrepreneurs lost in the minutiae. They lose perspective and burn out,” explains Andrews in her new book All Systems Go: A Solid Blueprint to Build Business and Maximize Cash Flow.
Being a great entrepreneur requires perspective—perspective you lack when immersed in the day-to-day details of business ownership. “Owners need to be the strategic visionary who hires, trains and develops the best talent available, and then delegates work,” says Andrews.
So here, from Andrews, are five keys to successful delegation:
1. Remember that they’re human. Your team is made up of human beings, not robots. They have their limits and require breaks. Get to know your team members so that you can make the most of their daily rhythms. You’ll get the most out of them if they are busy but not rushed.
2. Cultivate your team members’ strengths. Skillful delegation requires that you know and make the most of your team members’ talents. Learn what they do well and allow them to do it. If you let go and give them authority, they’ll be happier and more productive.
3. Bolster your own strengths. Seek help in the areas where you need it. If you don’t have bookkeeping or marketing experience, hire someone who does. Trying to accomplish tasks you’re ill-suited to will only eat up your time and confidence and likely deliver unsatisfactory results.
4. Be the resource fairy. Your team cannot function well without the proper resources. Equip them with what they need for peak performance. By being stingy with stock, software and computer equipment, you’re only shooting yourself in the foot.
5. Learn to lead. Be prepared to guide and motivate your team. Offer them appreciation for a job well done and advice when they stumble. Share your vision and enthusiasm. And remember: You’re cheerleader in chief.
According to Andrews, “Business owners need to be the big thinkers: to identify patterns both good and bad; to become an idea machine and testing fanatic; to fill out details from outlined strategy; to be aware of market trends; to always have one eye on the competition; and to develop an instinct for the people with whom you like to work.” So leave the small stuff to someone else.
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