Stop Helicopter Parenting Your ‘Business Baby', Owners

November 2, 2021

My wife and I celebrated the birth of our first kid earlier this year. While nothing can prepare you for first-time fatherhood, I can't help but see parallels between raising a kid and building a company from the bottom up as a business owner.

Entrepreneurs fantasize about the future of their companies. They make choices to steer their company in the proper direction and encourage behavior to keep it there. Business owners, like parents, must find a balance between being engaged and being a helicopter parent, supporting growth and development without getting in the way.

Are you, as a business owner, getting in the way?

This year, I've spotted a few canaries in the coal mine, signaling that my engagement as a shareholder may be stifling Stryve's growth and development.

Internal projects that never seem to finish

Although relaunching your website is a major undertaking, it should not take three years.

You can be the bottleneck dragging things down if you're a hands-on company owner with a lot on your plate. Consider delegating tasks to other members of your team if they keep being put to the backburner. Then, just check in at the 25 percent, 50 percent, and 75 percent completion points.

This not only keeps the project on track, but it also allows someone else to step into a leadership role. You don't have to be involved in everything.

Canary number two: Revenue that has been stifled

Perhaps your particular knowledge makes you the only person qualified for the work, or perhaps your distinctive skill set is required on too many projects. Even if you believe something to be true, it is not sustainable.

You can't be interested in everything if you want your company and income to expand. You must elevate people and position them to take on the responsibilities that you have been used to.

Sharing information has never been easier thanks to platforms like SharePoint and Jira. In previous years, senior-level staff, including myself, onboarded new personnel task by task.

While this kind of support is essential in the early phases of client work, training internal duties like how to submit expense reports isn't the most efficient use of my time. To address this, we've established a Sharepoint library of self-serve how-to pages.

New recruits may learn how to do low-level jobs without consuming the time of others who are more suited to billable client work.

To summarize, as a leader, you must be able to recognize and delegate low-level duties without interfering with their completion. Fortunately, there are several programs available to assist you in this endeavor.

Canary 3: You wish you had the ability to clone yourself

There's a recurring theme here: you can't be everywhere at once. Make a list of all the duties you're associated with to assist delegate and promote the growth and development of your company baby.

Then consider if you provide value that could not be provided by someone else. What tasks would allow others to benefit from your previous experience?

How many chores can you delegate to free up time for the big-picture job that requires your presence? Our accounting chores were recently delegated to our office administrator. As a consequence, I now have more time to focus on our company's big-picture economics, which has been a huge benefit.

We started using more deliberate action items to organize and allocate activities in our firm in 2017 and forward. For project management, SharePoint for knowledge sharing, and HubSpot for CRM administration, we began utilizing Jira.

On essential elements of the company, such as operations, human resources, and marketing, we appointed team members Functional Area leaders. All of this helped relieve our company's owners and top management of some of their responsibilities.

We have an average gross sales growth rate of +34 percent between 2017 and 2020, and we were named one of Globe and Mail's Top Growing Companies in 2020.

We've seen that not helicopter parenting our 'biz baby' pays dividends.

Thanks to Sourov De at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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