As important you think you are, not understanding when to replace yourself will keep your company small. Organizations that scale for decades understand the art of the replacement game.
This is perhaps the hardest question any founder of a startup faces: When is it time to hand the wheel to someone else?
On one hand, it’s a benchmark of success, a sign your company has grown larger than your ability to effectively manage it. On the other hand, you’re entrusting the keys to the car you built to a driver who wasn’t there from the start — hasn’t lubricated every part with his or her own sweat equity. Will they drive your car across the checkered flag or crash and burn?
Here are the things you can do replace yourself in your business without losing control:
Responsibilities can really weigh down as they become more and more detailed and time-consuming. When responsibilities start taking you away from doing the things you love, it’s probably time to consider delegating some of those responsibilities. If you have a management team in place, you can reach out to your best employees and teach them how to do the tasks that take up a lot of your time. A key to being a successful leader is learning to prioritize your duties and assign those tasks to someone who you can trust to perform well.
Be aware that finding the right individuals to delegate responsibilities to can be time-consuming. You need to be sure whoever is taking over duties for you does so according to your own level of expertise. If you are looking for a more immediate solution, you need to find a partner that can complement your business.
From payroll services to virtual assistants, you can outsource a lot of the administration of your business to outside companies. You can outsource manufacturing, as well as the shipping and delivery of products. You can outsource your accounting and finance, human resources, and many administrative functions to companies that offer “virtual” employees.
For non-recurring tasks, you can use sites like Upwork to hire freelance professionals for almost anything your business will need, including web development, graphic design, customer service, virtual assistants, accounting, and sales and marketing. The next time you need a market research report, or website update, you can turn to someone else to do it to allow yourself to focus on growing your business.
By hiring people, automating processes, and outsourcing, you can replace yourself for many business functions, and devote your time to growing your business.
Without a clear process, handing over tasks to someone else is always going to be difficult, no matter how good your people or tools are. Putting effort into creating clear processes takes your systems to the next level, saving you time down the line and making sure things don’t collapse when you aren’t around.