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Why your startup can’t grow until you relinquish some control

Posted by Deepshikha Shukla

December 6, 2021    |     3-minute read (565 words)

Successful startup founders are able to analyze their own strengths and weaknesses, then delegate accordingly. Even though founders may want to do it all, handling all the business’s daily operations leaves them inadequate time to grow and scale the firm. So eventually, startup owners have to invest in new talent or hire outsourced expertise to keep the business on track.

7 signs it’s time for startup founders to let go

An analysis of data from over 13,000 mid- and large-sized companies in 32 countries, performed by a group of professors from Harvard, Duke and Vanderbilt universities, showed that founder-led companies were 9.4% less productive than those led by CEOs.

But which situations in particular may necessitate fresh capabilities for a business to thrive? Below are seven scenarios where a founder should consider hiring a CEO or an outsourced CFO, or outsourcing other time-consuming business tasks that don’t generate revenue.
  1. When you’re able to accomplish only urgent tasks.
  2. When you feel overburdened, continually stressed and unable to keep up.
  3. When operations become unmanageable at the expense of business profitability.
  4. When you lose control and can no longer lead due to poor decisions.
  5. When you lack critical business experience needed to develop new strategies.
  6. When you need to focus on one facet of the business and need help managing other critical areas.
  7. When you need time for innovation and expansion.
Strategies for founders to let go for growth

There comes a time in nearly every startup where it’s beneficial to let go of some control in order for growth to happen. Here is how to achieve this in seven steps.

Step 1 – Define expectations.

Determine what, exactly, you need done, who can do it and by when. The more exact you can be, the higher the likelihood that your expectations will be met. 

Step 2 – Make a plan.

Once you’ve defined expectations, focus on how to proceed. Start by identifying which tasks a professional or a team member could take on and do better than you. Let go of the small tasks first so that you free up more time for strategic planning.

Step 3 – Use tech to improve processes.

You can manage many business processes and systems remotely with the help of technology. Dashboards can provide you with project statuses and let you track customer satisfaction, thus freeing up more of your valuable time.

Step 4 – Hire the right people.

To let go and grow your business, you need experienced leaders to handle key responsibilities. Delegating effectively will preserve your time to manage more critical business tasks.

Step 5 – Try outsourcing.

Many aspects of a business can be outsourced, such as finance, tax filing, recruiting and managing human resources. You can also outsource specific tasks, such as website design. 

Step 6 – Empower employees.

Provide employees with the tools they need to do the job you hired them for, and empower them to independently take care of day-to-day matters. “I'm spending most of my time mentoring my existing management team, rather than looking at what kind of work they're producing,” says Vizlib co-founder Martin Mahler

Step 7 – Provide one-on-one training.

Work closely with employees who will take over your responsibilities to demonstrate how you approach each task and communicate your expectations. For complex processes, outline the step, or create checklists in a shared document to help employees perform better. 

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