I want to share one of my favorite exercises that I do when I start consulting with a small business. The exercise is pretty simple: Write down all of the tasks you do on a weekly basis. I typically drop this on them at the end of a session and make it a homework assignment.
So, go ahead, try it yourself: Next week, keep a log of all of the tasks you are working on.
When I get this list back from a client, the following week my typical response is, “Holy crap! You are doing all this?”
The reason I react that way is this: Based on the list you sent me, you must be the smartest, most advanced, and educated general business person we have ever seen. Tasks will range from bookkeeping, to hiring, to marketing, to running payroll, to getting the mail to… you get the idea.
Being a generalist in your business is not scalable. Being an expert in what you are best at is.
Worry About Hiring And Employee Development
Once you hit a certain scale in your business, you will quickly realize two of the most important tasks are attracting top talent and employee development. (OK seasoned business people, that was your cue to disagree and light me up in the comments section below.)
I know, I know, having a successful business is all about sales. True, I will agree with that up to a certain point. That point is when marketing and sales aren’t the problems anymore. In fact, marketing and sales are crushing it. Leads and customers are flowing in constantly. But there are other problems now.
At a certain point, if you have the right people and you focus on developing them, your business will continue to be successful.
But most business owners don’t do this. They focus on solving sales first, which is the right thing to do. But you cannot neglect employee training and development or your sales efforts will be wasted.
Recognize The Importance Of Why You Can’t Do Everything
When you start your business, you pretty much do everything. But as you grow, it is critically important to understand why you can’t continue to do everything. Like I said earlier, doing everything yourself is necessary but only possible up to a certain scale. Once you hit that point, you either need to be satisfied with where you are at or train others to complete certain tasks for you.
Here are the steps to stop doing everything in your business:
- Use your task list to create different jobs in your business.
- Write out job descriptions for each position.
- Use your jobs list to draw an organizational chart.
- Put your name on every job on the organizational chart.
- Start firing yourself, moving up the organizational chart one job at a time as you hire talent.
Let Other People Drive The Direction Of The Company
If you surround yourself with good people who align with your vision and mission, then you have to allow them to help you drive the company in the right direction. But why? After all, you are the one in charge.
It's because good business owners recognize that they are not an expert in everything. So, they allow other people to be experts in what they do best, which in turn will naturally move the company in the right direction.
Your job as a CEO is to execute on a vision. However, you also have to realize you can’t do it by yourself. You will need the best people in the right positions making decisions on your behalf. Decisions that help you execute on your vision. And all of this is only possible if you focus on hiring the right people and constantly developing them.
So, in summary:
- Recognize that you can’t be an expert in everything.
- Recognize that other people are experts in areas where you are weak.
- Hire the best people you can find to help you and give them the training and development that they will need to succeed.
- Make sure your vision for the business is clearly communicated to all employees.
- Let others help drive the company to the execution of that vision.