If You Want To Grow, Delegate
Written by: Greg Weiss
As the founder of a business, you have most probably spent years carefully cultivating it from the first kernel of an idea all the way to the point where you are now.
If you’re anything like most business owners, your business isn’t just a job, it is so much deeper than that. So much so that you know every single aspect of your work, and you know exactly how you want things to be done.
However, you may have found that you have grown to the level at which you can’t do everything personally. This is very common, and the business probably has tended to be at a plateau.
If the business is to grow further, you are not going to be able to have full oversight, and a whole number of systems are going to have to be implemented.
That can be daunting. You might be concerned about whether your own high standards can be delivered by new staff. Or maybe you’ve got a good team and have tried briefing them on a project, but by the time you’ve called a meeting and explained the objectives, you feel like it would have been quicker to have just done it for the client yourself.
You’re not alone.
Hiring A New Account Manager Is Not A Growth Strategy
Many founder-owners like to have personal relationships with each of their clients. Some of those relationships will have been nurtured over many years and may have been the bedrock of sales when you started the business.
But as your business expands you will find yourself stretched further and further, giving up personal time to make sure each client gets the top draw treatment and your staff are not called upon to work out of hours.
That’s unsustainable for your business, and personally to your own and your family’s well-being.
Often people assume that the solution is simply to hand off some accounts to their account managers, but that strategy is plagued with pitfalls.
Your clients may not initially like this. They are used to dealing with you, aka the ‘big boss’. I’ve witnessed those raised eyebrows when a new account manager is introduced – the unspoken message is always clear: ‘We don’t want a new person. Our relationship is with you.’ Clearly, this transition from you to an account manager has to be well managed.
It can also be a problematic strategy from your side of the fence. If your account manager or managers are relatively inexperienced you may find yourself struggling to juggle the demands of clients with the need to train your staff – and then we’re back to the original thought of ‘It would have been quicker to do it myself.’
‘Delegation’ Is More Than Handing Off Tasks
Growing your business’s capacity won’t be achieved with one quick-fix solution.
Your business is as individual as you are, and so there are multiple answers to this problem. Knowing which ones to use requires taking a step back and asking a few questions.
Some questions might be:
- What account management systems do you have in place?
- How are these structured within your business?
- How are KPIs set?
- What metrics are being recorded to ensure they are achieved?
- If you have to be client-facing as the owner, how are you delegating the work upon your return to the office?
Knowing the best answers to these questions can be very difficult if you’re in the thick of it, especially if you’re used to handling your process yourself. For this reason, there are two fundamental questions that must be addressed:
- Do you have someone in your organisation asking these questions about the business?
- Do you have someone who can answer these questions inside the business and who can operationally adjust the flow of work to answer them?
As an entrepreneur who has grown a successful business, you are clearly great at what you do. Your talent lies in working alongside clients to deliver value, and in bringing in new business.
Your time, then, will be wasted if you hide away to work on KPIs, systems, and training.
What you need is a person alongside you who can trust with the crucial task of integrating your business’s operations, giving you the time and space to get on with the equally crucial task of delivering excellent value for your clients. What you need is a business soulmate.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg authored 3 practical Career Books, and 1 Book helping Visionary leaders scale their businesses. He is one of Australia’s most experienced HR consultants and leading career coaches. He is the founder and owner of Soulidify and Career365. As an entrepreneur/business owner, Greg has experienced first-hand the joys and frustrations of starting and growing one’s own business.