As I listen to the stories told by many entrepreneurs, it reminds me of the dangers they face in part because of their own abilities. Many entrepreneurs are literally jack of all trades. They are very good at doing many things! This trait has allowed them to strike out and start their own business. How in the world could this trait be bad you wonder?
I believe the entrepreneur’s ability to handle many tasks in their business holds them, and more importantly, their business back. They know how to sell…at least well enough to get a couple of clients or sales. They know how to make deposits in the bank. They know how to order business cards. They may even know how to fix the computer network! One could describe this entrepreneur as a rugged individualist.
How does the Entrepreneur’s Dangerous Trait Surface?
Many business owners started their business with no staff support, sales or marketing expertise, etc. They had enough skills and put in long hours to manage “doing it all.” However, after a business reaches a certain point, the entrepreneur’s effort to do it all becomes counter-productive.
When a business reaches a point where there are big opportunities being delayed, or even worse ignored, while the entrepreneur is preparing invoices, running to the bank and placing orders with vendors, I believe the rugged individualist has crossed the danger line.
Unless the entrepreneur consciously makes an effort to shift his or her priorities and delegates responsibility to others, this dangerous trait often can be fatal to the long term ability to grow a valuable business.
Entrepreneurs Love to Hold On
Excuses for not delegating tasks to others often are related to the lack of cash to pay for such support. But deep inside, I think the reason is more related to the unwillingness for the entrepreneur to let go of control. It feels good to hold onto what they know they do well… And to take on the new challenge is a bit scary. So they put their heads down and work more.
One of my favorite quotes from an unknown author is: “What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
I encourage my entrepreneur clients and readers to evaluate where their time and talent is being directed, so opportunities are not wasted. Their opportunities may not return.
Learn more about Holly A. Magister, CPA, CFP®, the founder of Enterprise Transitions, LLP, an Emerging Business and Exit Planning firm. She helps entrepreneurs assess, re-align, and accelerate their business with the intent of eventually executing its top-dollar sale.
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Holly also founded ExitPromise.com and to date has answered more than 2,000 questions asked by business owners about starting, growing and selling a business.