Circumstances often conspire to spur us on to better things, particularly in business. A few years ago we sold a commercial cleaning business to an ex farmer. He had no experience in business, apart from successfully running his farm, but wanted a complete change from the ‘feast or famine’ that farmers have to contend with. He saw the potential in a cleaning business and immediately after settling the contract, ran into a major hurdle. Whilst working in the business himself cleaning up a ladder, he fell and broke his leg so badly that he was in a wheelchair for six weeks. He now had a serious challenge to overcome: he had just invested several hundred thousand in a business he really knew nothing about and had to make it all work, without his day to day input. To his credit, he took the ‘bull by the horns’ and set about the task of running the business without his day to day input.
Running his farm had given him very few skills in people management, so he had a steep learning curve. His wife couldn’t assist because she had her own full-time job so, stranded in his wheelchair, unable to drive to the cleaning jobs, he just had to delegate the managerial role to one of his staff. And, surprise, surprise... nothing went wrong, the wheels didn’t fall off the business and the staff member rose to the challenge and handled the day to day running without any serious mishap. No clients complained and the owner sat back in his wheelchair at home running his newly acquired business from his lap top and mobile phone.
He devised a fool proof quoting system, based on a ‘room by room’ price, so his staff could quote correctly. After a few weeks of this, where the owner was working ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ the business as he had been doing, everything began to work like clockwork. He now realised that he could grow the business a lot more effectively when he delegated every task he could. He engaged a bookkeeper, whereas before he’d done all the invoicing and wages records himself, and he had no part in the day to day cleaning jobs.
So many new business owners want to do everything themselves because they mistakenly feel that it’ll cost too much to employ someone. This is very short sighted thinking. Successful business owners soon realise that the way to higher profitability is to delegate everything you can and devote more of their time to growing the business. For some business owners, this simple and basic business maxim is too hard for them to grasp, so they forever remain doing everything themselves and are never able to realise the full potential of themselves or their business.