Most business owners love their babies. When a person sets up their own business they tend to do everything. Though they may receive external support and advice in setting up IT systems, accounting and legal matters, they alone comprise every department in the company.
The business is their baby and it’s hard to step back and let go.
Even someone starting a business with a team of their own to begin with will likely have a finger in every operational pie and be in direct control of all proceedings. It’s a fear of losing this control which makes the issue of letting go so difficult.
However, ‘letting go’ isn’t just a piece of advice owners hear, intended to help them increase profits or efficiency. It’s a practical reality that has to be faced up to. This can occur for a number of reasons.
The first and most obvious is growth. If your business is growing there will come a point where you can’t directly control everything anymore. To try to persevere alone with an increasing number of clients and workload leads in the unhappy direction of substandard service and personal burnout.
The second need to let go arises if you are building a value business you intend to sell at some point. If it is obvious that you and you alone are the lynchpin holding everything together, it will be harder to find buyers.
The third reason may be slightly rarer but, from time to time, individuals do succumb to a bit of humility. Staff you have taken on to perform a certain role (under your direct control, of course) can turn out to be really, really good at their job. To pursue success and increase profits you cannot choose to ignore talent or hamstring people who are capable of doing a better job than you.
Often this third reason doesn’t occur on its own. It can be a realisation that happens after grudgingly letting go in one of the first two. However, if you reach this conclusion on your own you can save yourself a serious amount of time and worry.
Fear of handing over control to other people also shouldn’t be so overwhelming if you keep in mind the fact that you recruited them. If your recruitment process is thorough and your judgement sound you have, to an extent, kept a form of control by ensuring suitable people are inheriting responsibility.
There is a significant difference between a start-up company and a growing business. If you can accept that butterflies look very different to caterpillars, you have to accept that a growing business will look different to one just starting out.
Trying to succeed, grow and potentially sell without being able to let go is like a caterpillar trying to fly. It can still be daunting to make this physical change to a business structure, but once you realise it’s not optional you have great motivation. Let the drive to succeed overtake the fear.