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Let Go and Grow

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" I watched clips of President Obama on social media taking a shot at African leaders who have refused to step down. These leaders have become addicted to the power and honestly believe no one else is equipped to do their job. It gave me the impetus to write this article because some of us who believe we are entrepreneurs actually do the same thing.

In last weeks article, I mentioned that one of the things I do wish that someone had told me is that you grow when you work yourself out of a job, which I know flies in the face of traditional corporate culture. Well if you do want your business to go to the next level there may be an element of “letting go” that needs to happen. 

 If you believe you are the Alpha and Omega of your business, it is going to be extremely limited.  Here are some of the signs I have come to learn that mean you are not letting go.

You carry the cheque book around with you. Firstly this encourages indiscipline.  Many business owners do carry around this cheque book because they are also using the business account for personal use.  It gives leeway to withdraw money at any time.  Rather than planning money properly and paying yourself from the business, we get our sense of comfort from having the cheque book.  So there is no order and funds that should have been used for the business are used for personal expenses.Carrying the cheque-book around also indicates that there is no one who regularly keeps track of money going in and out. 

This knowledge is limited to you because you probably also write up all the cheques. Instead of spending time doing things that actually grow the business like getting clients you are spending this precious time hovering over the cheque book.  Yes you will have total control over your funds but you will ensure you have very little funds to have total control over. 

Let someone else do this. This will not only release your time but will also give you a sense of accountability.  It is much harder to make random personal withdrawals when you know someone will check it and account for it. Share the information. You should never be the only one in your business who knows about the numbers and how they work and come together. How will people know what to strive for?  When you tell them to keep expenses down, what are you really talking about? What will be their motivation to do that? Granted it might not be everybody who receives the same level of information but do not keep information to yourself at the risk of growing the business.

Another common apprehension, I hear is with advancing people. Business owners are afraid to pass on information and /or teach people to take up bigger roles. This is because the business owner is afraid they will leave, move to the competition or start their own businesses. Can it happen? Yes. Has it happened? To some people yes it has, to others it hasn’t. 

Many times we are afraid when we have not even tried it out.So the risk is there but remember you are passing on certain roles so you can concentrate on the bigger agenda for your Company.  If someone does choose to leave, that is the risk that you will face if you are more committed to growth of your business. If you don’t do it, you will stay at the same level. 

I think staying at the same level is in fact the bigger longer term risk. Someone who chose to take the risk in the same industry as you may wipe you out. It may also happen that when you expose people to different roles and responsibilities, you in fact motivate them to step up.  A student who attended our entrepreneurship program actually tried this out.

 

He spent time training his employees and allowing them to take up bigger roles in the company.  He actually allowed them to go meet clients without him.  The result is that they are now highly motivated and he was able for the first time to go on holiday for two weeks.  People can do a lot more than we usually allow them or give them credit for. As people take up roles, your responsibility as a leader is to ensure processes are being documented so that if they do choose to leave, the transition though not easy is not a complete disaster.

You are bigger than your business brand. When people like a particular doctor, they only want to go see that doctor. When the doctor is not available, they will come back later when he/she is available. When you start business it is sometimes like this.  It is very easy for your ego to get inflated over the fact that people only want to speak to you or meet with you. However it is extremely limiting for your business.  You only have a certain amount of hours per day.

Your clients must also be meeting other people who work in your business but with the same experience. As opposed to the doctor, when you get on a flight you have no idea who the pilot is.  You choose that flight because you liked the airline. You did not demand a certain pilot.  This is what your business has to be.  You cannot be the pilot that everybody wants to fly with. You are required at every meeting, you have to address every client issue, you have to do all the marketing etc.  Build your brand so that it is bigger than you or any other individual. Let your business become the airline and not the pilot who flies the plane.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Article shared by Centonomy courtesy of Waceke Nduati

Waceke runs a program on personal financial management as well as for Entrepreneurs. Need to connect with her? Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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