Have you ever caught yourself saying these words about your business?
“No one else will do it as well as me.”
“It’s too hard to explain to someone else. It’s faster if I just do it.”
If you hear these words escape your lips (or float around in your head) – sound the alarm.
These words are a signal that you’re falling into one of the big founder/CEO traps that can hold startups back for years – if not decades.
That trap is doing too much yourself and not empowering the people on your team by training them on important tasks and delegating those tasks to them.
It’s continuously doing tasks you shouldn’t be caught up in as the CEO responsible for driving the business forward.
Of course, when you’re a highly productive resource – as most founders and CEOs are – it’s going to be quicker in the short term for you to do certain tasks yourself.
But a cornerstone of good leadership is hiring a great team and letting them make mistakes so they can learn what you know for themselves.
The best (and often only) way to really learn how to do something well is through making mistakes.
Consider the task of learning a foreign language as a small example.
If you want to learn a new word in Mandarin – will you learn the word by reading it, listening to others say it, watching others use it?
Only to an extent.
But you’ll never truly know the word and be able to use it for yourself in practice until you attempt to pronounce it 5, 10, 15 times incorrectly, before finally landing on the right tone.
The same goes for all the nitty-gritty tasks within a business system.
They can be tricky for your team members to master and it’s likely they won’t do it as well or as fast as you for a period of time.
However, it’s vital to delegate the tasks to them and allow them to go through their learning process so they can embody what’s really required to do these tasks well.
The sooner you can do this with any task that’s not directly related to business growth, the better.
I once worked with a founder/CEO who had hired 6 software engineers to build a product.
This founder only let the engineers do engineering tasks, meaning he had to do everything else in the company – marketing, sales, recruitment, investor outreach, financial planning, business systems creation, and more.
It slowed the progress of the company by years.
This is a very common story among startups.
Believing that building a company is all about building the product is not a realistic mental model of a business.
There should always be resources allocated for marketing support, sales support, prototyping, user research, and so on.
When it comes to growing a successful startup, it’s vital to ensure you have a balanced investment in the team.
You certainly need some specialists, but you can’t have all specialists.
What’s most important is to hire specialists who are willing to act as generalists.
All too often, startups over-invest in the wrong things – like over-investing in specialists that they can’t delegate generalist work to.
This is when a founder/CEO starts saying those perilous words:
“It’s too hard to train someone on the team to do this.”
“It’s faster if I do it.”
When you’re a founder, you often need three people to replace you in doing a set of tasks.
But three people at 70% is much better than only you at 100% if it frees you up to work on more high-value business growth tasks.
What’s more, delegating things forces you to systematise them.
If you don’t, you’re just operating on intuitive experience that you can’t scale.
This means you’re doing nothing to eliminate key-person risk in your business and nothing to get systems to scale.
The bottom line is: don’t be afraid to delegate, and don’t be afraid to ‘let it break.’
When it breaks, the team can see why it broke, learn where the holes in the system are, and understand what to do to repair them and prevent the same thing from happening again.
Building a business is the ultimate game of progress over perfection and your team is your biggest asset.
Hire wisely, then empower them to help you win.
Whenever you’re ready, here’s how we can help you.
If you’ve got a startup idea, or you’ve already embarked on your journey – you might be facing one or both of these situations.
- You’re struggling while going it alone. Worse, you’re wading in the muddy waters of some not-so-great advice.
- Perhaps you’re trying to raise capital for your startup and you’re hitting a dead end. Raising capital is a notoriously difficult thing to do. Globally, only 0.74% of startups manage to raise capital at Seed stage. Despite this, 16% of startups we’ve worked with were able to raise capital at Seed stage.
If you’re ready to step up and get the help you need, our Startup Builder™ program was created especially for you.
The Startup Builder™ process is specifically designed to take you all the way from idea to global success – in a way that’s simple, sustainable, and scalable.
If you’re ready to grow your revenue, profit, and social impact faster without wasting time and money on the wrong things at the wrong time, click here to request your Startup Builder™ Strategy Session.
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