Luckily for me, business has recently increased dramatically...not on the retail side of the business, but on the bespoke, commissioned side. This is fantastic, but it does bring its own problems: The most significant one being that there simply aren't enough hours in the day for me to do it all.
So, then I faced the difficult decision that many small business owners face: turn work down or entrust other people to help me?
I've decided to let go (a little!).
Yes it means that I personally am not earning the full value of the contract, BUT I have to take the longer term view: My client is more likely to be impressed as they will recieve the completed work more quickly AND it will be just as high quality (I am still going to be checking everything of course). This in turn will lead to improved satisfaction and hopefully, more work in the future.
I've just put in a proposal for a 12 Module Leadership Development Programme. Four of these modules are highly bespoke and will focus on internal commercial and operational issues. Detailed business case studies and simulations strike me as being the best way to tackle these issues and really make learning meaningful. To do this, I need to spend quite a lot of time in the business to truly understand how it works. This is something I'm confident I can do.
However, an associate of mine who spent 30 years in a similar environment, 10 of them at a very senior level, can probably get to grips to it an awful lot quicker. So I'm delegating this part of the programme to him. It was a hard choice, but I had to look at the bigger picture: What talents do I have at my disposal (not just within myself)? What is the best use of those talents in terms of meeting my clients needs? Me spending a week getting my head around something that my associate could probably pick up in two days is NOT the best use of our combined talents. I'm better off adding value where I AM the best person for the job.
In organisations all over the world, from multi-national corporations to tiny local businesses, managers find it hard to let go. They want to keep hold of as much as they can because they have pride and what to make sure that the best service is delivered. However, this sometimes leads to an inefficient use of resources and talent. Sometimes letting go and delegating certain aspects, though hard, may be in the best interests of the customer.