I once managed a design/build construction project for a client who had a printing company. They were building an entirely new facility to house state of the art printing equipment that would enable them to produce more promotional flyers faster and of higher color quality. It was an involved project and one of the owners (owned by 2 brothers) was to oversee the project himself. The first thing we did was try to talk him out of doing the oversight himself as it would cause his business to suffer. But he insisted on doing it “to make sure he would get what he was looking for”.
During the design phase, he had to supply the architects and engineers with information about the equipment he would later install so proper foundations and structures could be included for each piece. The information was slow in coming and the project schedule slid. This went on throughout the project since he did not understand the need for information up front to be able to design a building shell that would hold everything else in place. The time he spent trying to oversee the project was time he didn’t spend on his own business and his brother was overwhelmed. Revenues began to slide and missed sales opportunities went by for him. The time he was spending trying to run the building project was time he was not spending on his own business.
When it comes to the value of your time, you need to be realistic about what you take on. The things you do every day may seem easy and miniscule to you, but take them away and the costs of lost productivity add up. More often than not, it is easy to think and imagine the savings by doing things yourself. But what you never assess properly are the costs of not getting your everyday work done. That is when you realize what your value to the company really is.
The things you do every day for your business become automatic and flow easy. So it may seem that if you’re not there they’ll keep going. But the questions that go unanswered, the guidance not provided and the opinions not rendered present a value of your time by what is not getting done. Left unattended for any extended period of time, they create lapses in revenues, credit issues are created and lack of support from the staff develops.
What should you do?
1. When a special project comes along, don’t try to take it on to save money. Assign it, delegate it.
2. If you do decide to take it on, delegate your day to day tasks to your next-in-command. Don’t leave your business unattended for any period of time.
3. If your building a new facility, hire a general contractor or construction manager to oversee the project. They are the experts, give them the information they need upfront, find out what you need to supply for information and let them go at it. Find a contractor you can trust, it’ll save your business.
All these boil down to trusting someone to take charge of either your business or the special project. If you don’t have someone you can count on, you need to develop a plan to create one, promote one or hire one. Typically, owners like to have their fingers on everything going on in their business. After all, that’s what it takes to run a business right? Wrong. That’s the path to an early grave. Take pride in having someone else do the heavy lifting. That’s what successful business owners do. It frees them up to create new opportunities, expand product lines or simply grow their business.
So step aside Superman! To keep your business going, to allow it to expand, grow or flower, do what’s right for your company. But most of all do what is right for you. Delegate authority.
Photo: Image credit: bowie15 / 123RF Stock Photo