In my book From Entrepreneur to CEO, I discuss the issue of Founder Dependence. It is a concept often discussed and mused about in corporate circles. It is not widely discussed in the small business world. On the one hand, you have funded startups, whose investors remove the Founder as soon as possible. This is based on the belief that the person who had the vision cannot possibly be trusted to bring it to life. On the other hand, you have the bootstrapped entrepreneur who grew the business from the ground up and believes that no one knows better than he/she.
These are two extremes and in the middle lies reality. At what point can the business survive without you? Do you want the business to survive without you? If so, you must make it sustainable, scalable and saleable.
Is it sustainable? A business owner must learn how to allow others to make decisions and give up certain responsibilities to focus on other aspects of a growing business. This statement tends to be a big stumbling block for founders. No one is perfect and they certainly do not know your business like you do. They have to learn, and you have to give them time to learn. It means that the “control freak” inside has to learn to be less controlling. Those who refuse to relinquish control demonstrate that they suffer from a lack of vision.
Owners who cannot let go will eventually drive their business into the ground: management will become dysfunctional at some point. A founder that cannot let go will not let workers thrive or leaders be born. They will eventually push out the talent and only retain those who do not care about the overall survival of the business.
Understanding your limitations is key. For most small business owners, giving up complete control is a non-starter. However, the skills needed to get the business started may not be the skills needed to continue the business or grow the business. Be willing to bring more knowledgeable and skilled contractors to help move the business forward. While hiring professionals in this manner may be more costly, it saves time overall because of the training and experience of the professional in a given area.
If you do not want to spend your time learning and trying to comprehend social media, hire a contractor. Bring in someone that knows what they are doing and let them train your staff on what to do and how to do it. If you need help with payroll and you cannot afford to hire a person to work on it full time, utilize a service to help you.