Being in control requires losing some control

Entrepreneurs can't expect to handle everything in their business. Growth comes from having time to step back and set strategic objectives

Being in control requires losing some control

Entrepreneurs can’t expect to handle everything in their business. Growth comes from having time to step back and set strategic objectives

In the early stages of starting a business it makes sense to spread yourself across different roles because, as the founder, you know your product and goals best. However, when a company begins to grow, you can’t (and shouldn’t) expect yourself to have every corner covered. There comes a point where if you spend too much time in the weeds, you miss strategic opportunities for growth.

While many businesses have struggled during COVID-19 and lockdowns, some are growing, and many have pivoted towards new ventures. A lot of business owners right now might be finding themselves running a business that is very different to the one they founded, or even the one they were running in March. Given the lack of control we’re all feeling in many aspects of our lives right now, focusing on the things we can navigate and steer towards can help refocus our energies where they’re needed most ‘ and keep us thinking of the bigger picture.

Start by being realistic about your skill set. Identify what you’re best at and where your capacity is needed most. In other words, play to your strengths. Just because you’re able to do something doesn’t make you the best person for the task. It’s something I’ve seen many times when I speak to SME business owners. They started to scale but weren’t seeing the results they expected. Trying to cover all bases and solve everything eats into your time unnecessarily and pulls you away from your role as leader. 

It’s thrown around a lot, but ‘spending time on your business, not just in the business’ is worth remembering when deciding how to evolve your role. In other words, it’s important that you’re able to step back from ‘running the business’ (everyday tasks and troubleshooting), to envisioning your next step instead. Carve out time weekly or monthly to meet with your senior team to discuss growth and next steps. Without creating this time you miss chances to find strategic goals and opportunities together.  

Trust your team. The size of your business and the structure of your team tell you everything about what your role as CEO or executive should be. When you’re starting out you need to be spread across everything. But when you start to expand it’s difficult to delegate and trust your employees without monitoring every task. But there comes a moment in a business’s lifecycle where you need to learn to lose some control and entrust the running of your business onto the people you’ve hired to do just that if you want to excel.

Ask yourself what is in your control. Once you’re clear about where your role sits in the team you’ll find it easier to allow yourself the space to think beyond the day-to-day. But don’t just use this time to evaluate your own business ‘ be on top of what your competitors are doing too. Analyse and understand your customer base. A business is only as strong as its customers, so make sure you know yours. We have access to more nuanced data than ever before: take control of the information available to you and your team in the interest of improvement and growth. 

Delegating so you can focus on the vision also applies to your finances. Have you got a good finance team or accountant that you can turn to for credit and cash flow advice? One of our most important principles at MarketFinance is that securing the right funding helps business leaders focus on their important issues. Taking control of your finances and having the right facilities in place allows you to get on with growing your business.

Although starting your own business requires you to cover everything to begin with, how you detach yourself from the day-to-day and pass on control helps you grow. Scheduling time with your senior team regularly keeps you on the pulse but also gives you the chance to think ahead and strategise. 

Anil Stocker
Anil Stocker

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