What happens when business owners learn to delegate?

If you asked me if I was a micro manager I would have answered “Absolutely not. I delegate.” It wasn’t until I had to stay home for four weeks for medical issues that learned some of life’s most valuable business lessons.

Our business was doing well. We employed six people and we were making a profit.  I told our office manager, “I’ll just be home after surgery, so just call me if you need me.”  By the end of the first week I was checking the phone for a dial tone. I finally called the office and said to the office manager, “I said to call me.”  Her reply was, “No, you said to call if we needed you.”

I learned three things that week:

  1. I was mortal
  2. I was dispensable
  3. And, most importantly, I was a micro manager

This experience changed the way we did business.  Until this time, my wife (partner) and I never took vacations and if we did a long vacation was considered to be a weekend and a Friday or Monday. Sound familiar?  We took our first real vacation—10 full days— three months later.  And, yes, no calls from the office.

Since we weren’t spending all of our time actually running the business, we started to plan.  We decided to concentrate on selling in Florida rather than being spread too thin by spanning four states.  Through our new delegating-planning recipe   we were able to develop the concept for a training center, write a business plan and obtain an SBA loan. Soon we purchased an office building and the training center became a reality.  The business grew significantly, leading to the sale of the business and the completion of our exit strategy.

Delegating is the key to planning for the entrepreneur.  This requires that you assess the qualifications of your staff and then train them to take over responsibilities that will give you the time you need to plan.

Delegating comes from the top down.  So if you wish you had more time to plan, ask yourself if you are a micro manager.  Be honest and then let go!