Founder dependence can be crippling to a business. Mostly because if the business requires you and only you to operate then it is doomed. Obviously, if you are just starting a business or have only worked on a business for a few years it is going to depend upon you. But you want to structure the business so it does not have to. This is of course, easier said than done. No one can manage the business like you can. And if you specifically manufacture a product, perhaps no one can manufacture the product like you can. But if Walt Disney can continue to operate without the genius behind the company, so can your business.
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. - George Bernard Shaw
So how do you know that your business depends upon you too much? And more importantly is it time for you to change? Here are three things to ask yourself, is the business sustainable? Do things crumble or come to a complete stop if you are not there? Is the business scalable? Do you have systems in place that can be replicated and increased without creating turmoil in your company? Is it saleable? Would anyone want to buy your business as it exists right now? Would the owner have to hire you to run the business?
It's easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out-of-date. - Roger von Oech
A business owner must learn how to let go of certain decisions and responsibilities as the business grows. It tends to be a big stumbling block for founders. No one is perfect, and they certainly do not know our business like your do. But they have to learn and you have to give them time to learn. Sometimes it means that the “control freak” in you has to learn to be less controlling, most importantly it means lack of vision. Owners who cannot let go will drive their business in the ground eventually. That is because 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.
The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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 in 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.
Shahara Wright is an experienced and highly sought after business law attorney and business strategist. She is the author of From Entrepreneur to CEO and host of the CEO Collaboration Circle. Shahara founded The CEO Effect, LLC to work with small business owners who want to implement strategy to build capacity.