In my last post (What the Flu Taught Me About Business) I talked about why it is necessary to think like an entrepreneur and make yourself unnecessary to your business’s success (at least for a period of time).

Many aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners will be tempted to take a very dangerous shortcut.

The Shortcut

It goes something like this. “I can’t handle all of the work I have to do” or “I don’t like doing these parts of the work.” The really forward thinking (i.e. brilliant strategic) ones will go “I create more value doing X than Y so I will delegate Y”.

So they hire someone to do some aspect of the business and go “Welcome to my company, your job is to do ________”.

Then you let out of sigh of relief and go back to doing the work you love and/or has the most value to your organization.

You are an amazing business genius. Congrats!

Until something happens.

The Shortcut Becomes the Long Path

Customers are not quite happy. Something is not being done quite like you really wanted. Other employees are mumbling. The key employee is becoming frustrated.

But you are so very happy to not be doing that work; so you ignore the little problems.

Besides you are a brilliant strategic business genius. Everything is under control. Think happy thoughts and it will all work out. You have bigger fish to fry. Busy.

Then the little problems become bigger problems.

Maybe the person you were relying on quits. Worse, they are taking all of the knowledge about how they do their work and all of their contacts with them. And you are too busy to step back into the role; if you even know how anymore.

Unlike keyboard shortcuts, business shortcuts (the easy path) often turn into more work over the long term.

Working On The Business Part 2

Delegating and disappearing is not working on the business. There is no easy path.

Working on the business is an investment into the future of the business.

When you expand your team (hire or outsource) you need to take care of some essentials:

  • What is your business culture?
  • What are your core values?
  • What is your mission? Vision?
  • What is required for success in the role?
  • What goals and responsibilities will they have?
  • How will you measure success? How will you hold them accountable?
  • What are the processes and systems they are responsible for implementing and following?
  • How will you mentor and train them to succeed?
  • What do they get out of it?
  • What management style and process will you use?
  • Etc.

You see, building a business involves not only making it so you don’t have to be there.

You have to make it so the whole thing runs without ANY one key person.

And you have to realize that working on your business includes developing your people. As you grow you have to make sure your business is structured and built so the culture of the business is to develop your people.

A perpetual motion machine.

Don’t take the shortcut and become the irrelevant entrepreneur. It will come back to haunt you and may prove fatal to your business.

It isn’t easy. But building a great business can be done. Get help via a coach, consultant, tools and self learning.

What are you doing to set up your people for success?

I’d love to hear your story, please leave a comment.