Making that leap from experienced employee to newbie business owner is challenging if not all-out frightening.
Being an entrepreneur means working long hours doing every job in the organization, right? Wrong, says Zenovia Andrews, founder and CEO of The MaxOut Group, a company devoted to empowering and teaching entrepreneurs development strategies to increase profits.
“People believe that starting a new business is supposed to mean they’ll have to work much longer hours, and that’s why most new businesses fail early,” says Andrews, author of the new book “All Systems Go – A Solid Blueprint to Build Business and Maximize Cash Flow.”
Andrews is a business development strategist with extensive experience in corporate training, performance management, leadership development and sales consulting with international clients, including Pfizer Inc. and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. A sought-after speaker and radio/TV personality, she is the author of “All Systems Go” and “MAXOut: I Want It All.”
“Entrepreneurs need to be the brains and oversight of the operation. It’s not wise to work for your own business. Sixteen-hour days get entrepreneurs lost in the minutiae. They lose perspective and burn out.”
That means learning how to delegate and find the best people for the job, Andrews says. Here’s how to get it done.
1. Understand that your team is made up of human beings. No one can work nonstop, so get your timing right. Know what each employee can handle, and never overwork them. Most people perform at their best when they are consistently busy but not rushed or pressured.
2. Focus on the strengths of your team. Delegation is not a dump-and-run tactic. Know your employees and how they fit into your business puzzle. Allow them to do what they do well, and give them responsibilities and authority. They’ll be happier and so will you.
3. Focus on your own strengths, then plug the holes. Few of us are great at everything! If bookkeeping’s not your thing, hire an accountant. If you don’t have marketing experience, find someone with proven skills. Trying to perform jobs that you don’t do well will require twice as much effort with less-than-satisfactory results.
4. Be the resource king or queen. Your employees are only as good as the resources they have. Make sure that they are equipped to always do the best work for you on a daily basis. Running out of stock, not having new software and not shelling out for that desperately need printer is NOT good delegation.
5. Become the fire, ice and motivation behind your team. When they need guidance, give it to them; when they need appreciation, offer it to them. Inspire, motivate and lead by supporting your delegated decisions and following up on them often.
“Business owners need to be the big thinkers: to identify patterns both good and bad; to become an idea machine and testing fanatic; to fill out details from outlined strategy; to be aware of market trends; to always have one eye on the competition; and to develop an instinct for the people with whom you like to work,” Andrews says.