5 Tips for Taking Control of Your Business without Being a Control Freak!
by Stephen Morris, Community Moderator
- Created: May 12, 2011, 1:51 pm
- Updated: May 21, 2012, 11:22 am
If you business is growing and you still find yourself trying to control every aspect of it then you may just be your own worst enemy and on the brink of a total burn out.
But letting go in business is hard. After all, your business is your baby. You gave it life, nurtured it and invested hours and money in making it a success. So how on earth do you let go of all that and learn to trust some of your business functions to others, while staying in command?
Here are some tips for stepping back from the fray and taking control of your business, without being a control freak!
Recognize the Signs of Burn Out
The first step towards changing your behavior is recognizing that it’s becoming a problem. Are you so involved with your business that you never switch off, take a vacation or feel that you just can’t get to the end of your to-do list?
How about others? Are you micro-managing your employees to the point that they are equally over-whelmed and stressed?
Read more about taking control of burn-out as you start to take control of you in this article: Suffering from Business Burn Out? Fight Back with these Six Tips.
Get Help in Small Doses
If you are running a business solo and simply can’t let go, consider hiring an assistant our outsourcing certain functions to a specialist.
If you need an assistant, start with part-time help and have that person help with the basics such as filing, handling phone calls, or preparing invoices.
If you need help with a particular business function that really isn’t your area of expertise, such as accounting or marketing, and just causes stress, consider hiring an independent contractor or specialist to help. Start small, maybe you can hand-off the upkeep of your website, blog or events management, or consider outsourcing your accounting and payroll functions.
Read “Staffing your Business – Four Flexible Options to Consider as you Start-up and Grow” for some options including help from family members, temps and independent contractors that you might wish to consider to support your short- and long-term needs.
Empower Your Employees to Make Decisions
Far from relinquishing control of your business, empowering those who are closest to the action to make decisions, can lead to the right result. Great teams work because the person closest to the action, is often the best one to make the decision, as long as they consider the impact on the rest of the business, the bottom line, and other employees. Try empowering your employees in your business decision making process. Start small, maybe it’s following through on a recommendation for a new wholesaler or making a customer service decision without consulting you.
Provide guidelines and be on-hand to help advise on the potential impact of any proposed decision – just don’t take the decision making authority out of the hands of your employees.
If it turns out not to be the right decision, review the process with the employee, evaluate alternatives, and revisit the process until your employees feel more and more confident about making decisions.
Start to Delegate
Once you feel that you can let go and empower your employees a little more, consider delegation. Now this is a tough one because it involves stepping back in a way you’ve resisted in the past.
However, effective delegation can take an enormous strain off your shoulders; it also empowers employees to take a vested interest and role in your business success. Consider shedding some of your responsibilities to employees who have specific skills, are quick learners or who are showing leadership potential.
This article features tips on how to balance delegation with a “need to be there” as a business owner: “Growing your Business as a Team: 10 Team Building Tips from the Real World of Small Business”.
Take Charge Positively
So now that you’ve started to step back a little from control freak mode, how do you retain control of the different elements that make the whole of your business?
Being in control doesn’t mean you have to be there all the time, micro-managing and feeling over-emotionally invested in every decision that is made. Think about how you train a dog – most dog training classes concentrate on educating the pet owner to establish commands, nurture positive behaviors, and intervene when necessary. It’s not a whole lot different in business. Effective leaders set guidelines and operational parameters, mentor their employees, show flashes of authority, and use commanding postures and voices (though not all the time).
Taking charge, in a good way, is what most employees want from their boss. A rudderless organization quickly deteriorates into chaos, while an overly managed organization can feel confining and stagnant.
For more tips read “4 Tips for Effective and Inspiring Business Leadership in Uncertain Times”.
Leading Your Company – SBA’s guide includes tips for effective leadership, decision making and employee management.
About the Author
Stephen Morris is online media coordinator for the U.S. Small Business Administration where he manages digital outreach to the small business community.
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General small business tips and tricks.