You’ve quit the 9-5, set up the business and seemingly crossed one of the biggest hurdles yet. Now for the next… How do you make this a scalable entity?
Now presuming you’ve had a fair few reality checks since embarking on this journey, the first would more than likely be the realisation that this is no longer a job. You don’t clock out anymore, it is all encompassing and it becomes a part of you. So it’s not unusual that once the business gets off the ground, it can become more than a little tricky to separate the founder from the ‘do it all’ mindset.
Gordon Black, founder of Advisersure Financial Consultants and over 40 years experience with small businesses says of growing a business: “A lot of that is about structure, disciplines, in a significant way, it’s about divorcing the business from an individual in many ways, and bringing in processes, systems, staff, all those sort of wonderful things that make it more of a business and less of a job.”
It can be the difference between a satisfactory business and the highly successful organisation that business owners dream of. In that respect it should be a no brainer, so why is it that so many founders fail to recognise the right time to pull back in order to drive growth?
From a fear of losing control (you won’t) to the belief that you can do it all (you can’t), the reasons for this reluctance are varied and often extremely personal. That being said, being too close to the business could be the very reason to take a step back. Mike Plener, founder of Catapult Business Accelerator says, “That personality needs to acknowledge that he or she just can’t do everything and as you become the greatest hindrance for further growth of the business, you need to step aside and find that balance, because if you fail to do so at the right time, it’s actually holding the business back.”
Black agrees, saying “One of the huge differences between a very small business and a larger business is that we are exposed to, involved in and get our fingers into everything to some extent or another.”
“Learning to delegate and leverage the team can often be the hardest thing to do for founders, where they have been used to being the ‘Jack of all trades’, but it’s essential for the successful growth of the enterprise. Otherwise the founder(s) become what holds the business back.”
Once the decision to take a step back and focus on the bigger picture is made, it becomes critical to find the right balance, whether it’s focusing on a specific area of strength or taking it even further and being a source of morale for the strong team you’ve built up by simply being present in the office a couple of days a week. Black says “The business grows because of the drive, determination, inspiration, skills or whatever it might be of the founder or founders, and you don’t want to lose that. Don’t ever lose that!”
Moving towards that balance is essential to the business achieving the success it deserves.