Learning to Let Go So Your Business Can Grow

It’s been said that an easy way to succeed in business is to find someone who is successful and then figure out what they do and how they do it. If you can find someone who’s willing to pour their knowledge into you, count yourself as fortunate.

I started my first business, a commercial appliance service agency, as a naïve 21-year-old with a $6,000 loan, an unrivaled work ethic, and a drive to succeed. Our little company made money from day one. I was all set for success, except for the fact that I knew very little about the business side of the business!

Expanding Your Business

That’s where a man named Burt came in to my life. Burt was a successful real estate investor who seemingly made money with every business venture he ever tackled. We rented office and warehouse space from him and his office was only a short walk down the hall from us. He would invite me in a couple of times a week and we would talk about business. He became a mentor for me.

One day he asked about how I plan to expand. I fumbled through a list of things I thought needed to be accomplished quickly. Before I was finished, he stopped me. After watching me and my company, he figured out that I was a hands-on operator and indeed that was true.

He told me if I wanted to expand I was going to have to change that. I would have to learn how to grow the business with my brains, not my hands.

At that moment, I’m not sure it made sense to me, but he made sure I understood before I left his office that day.

Leaning to Delegate Responsibilities

In a given day, depending on how much talent you have, you’re only going to be able to put your hands on so many issues. But, if you can find qualified people who can be trained to do things your way, the opportunity for growing your business is unlimited.

This might be difficult for you in the beginning, especially if you are a control person.

What ever your area of expertise, one thing is for sure: you are not an expert in every area. The sooner you grab hold of that fact, the better off your business will be.

Letting Go to Let Grow

I struggled with giving up the finances of my business, even to another family member. The truth is that spending time on things like invoices, taxes, and credit card statements took time away from focusing on what I was good at; servicing our customers. However, after I did finally let go, there was never a moment after where I regretted that decision.

At that point all I needed was a weekly update of where we were financially and what kind of adjustments we would need to make going forward, if any.

I no longer worried about meetings with accountants, making sure bills were paid on time, balancing expense accounts, or managing credit for the company. It was a process to fully embrace the concept, but one I overcame.

Apply The Principle Everywhere

Frankly, letting go of the finances wasn’t the first area that I applied this principle to. One of the first things I did was set out to find new employees. I was very good at what I did, but like I was told, there was a limit on what I could accomplish each day and how many billable hours I was able to invoice.

As I began to interview potential employees, I quickly narrowed down candidates based on work ethic. If I was able to glean from asking a few questions whether or not they had a good work ethic, I knew I could teach them the rest.

The results are a testament to what Burt taught me. I hired two young men out of high school who ended up working for my company for the next 20 years. One eventually opened up a branch office in another city.

Bottom Line

You may very well be in a business that is successful and operates with you doing everything, but eventually you will max out your own production.

If you are reluctant to expand your business with your brains rather than your hands, start slow. It doesn’t have to all be done in one day, just know that it has to be done in order to grow.

Today Don Miller serves as Vice President of Marketing at Credit Card Forum, which is an online resource that helps individuals and businesses manage their credit cards more effectively.

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Filed in: Business Success

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