“I Can Do Anything Better Than You . . .”

Let’s say you can do anything better than anyone else, how does it help? Because you cannot do everything needed to operate a business, many of those things at which you excel will still have to be done by someone else. In fact, if you want to maximize the value you can get for your business, all of those things will have to be done by someone else.

Many businesses are founded because the founder is someone who can do something better than others. Because of that unique aspect, the business is able to make a profit, the indicator of success. But for the business to grow, more than one person must produce that product or service that makes the business successful. With growth comes the demand for different skill sets, some in marketing, some in distribution, and others in management of the entire operation. Frequently, the founder of the business also has skills in these areas, and, when that happens, the business often become dependent on the founder. Where the founder becomes indispensable to the business, growth is impaired. But it goes further than that.

What if you were going to buy a business and there were two choices? One business is very successful based on the talent and reputation of the founder. The other business is successful based on the solid management of the business and the team approach that is used in providing products and services (the owners are not indispensable to the business). I would put my money into the business that is not dependent on the founder for its success. Will the founder stay with the business to insure its success? If the founder is no longer an owner of the business, will the founder still work for the success of the business the way the founder would have as an owner? There are too many unanswerable questions where the founder is indispensable to the business.

So if you are the founder of a business and you indeed can do anything better than anyone else (not an unusual attitude among business founders), remember that by doing it all yourself you limit your business growth and you make you business less valuable to a potential purchaser.

What is my advice to the founder who thinks “I can do anything better than you . . .”? Forget about your skills. Sure you have an ego and want to be recognized for what you can do. How about getting maximum value for your hard work in starting and growing the business? Work in your business to accomplish a situation such that you do less and less in the business allowing your business to become more valuable. This means that you should spend your time and talent getting others to do their best. Who knows, they may turn out to do it better than you.

If you find yourself saying, “if I want this done right, I have to do it myself,” then you are on the path to little growth and low value. On the other hand, if something needs to be done and you know how to do it, train someone else to do it and delegate that task.