Escape the Owner's Trap
Posted on 16th May 2022 at 13:25
Many business owners we work with started their business because they were good at something and they wanted freedom and control. They wanted freedom from having a boss telling them what they should do. They wanted freedom and control to chose the kind of work they did, the people they did it with and ultimately the money they earned. Ideally also a little bit more control over their over their life, whether it be work life balance or even simply financial freedom.
A lot of reasons come down to freedom. But what actually tends to happen is that most of us get caught in something referred to by John Warrillow as the ‘owners trap’ because we’ve created the kind of business that is over-reliant on us as the business owner.
Business owners find themselves consistently dragged back into day-to-day operations. It results in your business getting stuck and your revenue stagnating.
Acting as a bottleneck in your business WILL hinder its ability to scale.
Perhaps we start to work with a couple of clients, and because we are probably good at what we do (maybe making widgets) they come to us even if we have a team. Because we want to please our customers (and pride ourselves on our customer service) when they ask us if we can do other things aswell (perhaps tuits – generally round) we tend to say yes. So we start to extend the range of things we do and we start offering more/ too many things. When we start to do that, even if we do actually end up getting other people on board, it's quite possible that we're the only ones that can really deliver all of those things well, so we're the ones that end up delivering and dealing with the customers because our employees do not have the depth and breadth of knowledge that we do. So the customer keeps coming to us, and we keep getting dragged into the delivery.
We probably deliver a great product or service, which means the customer is happy and comes back to us to buy more – so we start the cycle again. So we're caught in that in that trap where basically, all of the business, or decisions come through us as the owner, and it's very difficult to scale a business like this. There will be a ceiling to how far you can take your business.
It’s an easy place to find yourself. We hear again and again from clients that it is one of the key issues in their SMEs. You have the industry knowledge, the power of decision and the largest investment in the business. Why would you trust somebody else to do something you can do very well?
It’s certainly a leap of faith stepping away from any area of your business.
Do you struggle with removing yourself from certain areas of your business?
For more on escaping the dreaded owner's trap and for lots of other help along your journey, here's our book.
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