I quickly learned, after years of being past exhausted, that you cannot build an empire on your own. You need to delegate and share responsibilities with your team, to help you reach that next level in business.
I also learned an even more valuable lesson. Some things you just cannot delegate. When it comes down to it, it’s your business. Your passion and your ambition got you to the point of growth in the first place. And knowing that, there are some things you have to do:
1. Defining Strategic Mission, Vision, and Values
When it comes to what your business stands for and what your business will or will not do, that is your sole responsibility as a business owner. You have to be able to verbalize the future of your business and embolden others to rally around your mission and your values.
Your strategic vision stems from that first spark of passion you felt when you decided to launch your business. No one else can tell you the why and how, only you can answer those questions.
Bottom line, if you don’t know what you stand for, and you don’t know where you are going, you cannot communicate the vision and goals to your team. And if you cannot talk to your team about your purpose, you surely can’t expect to sell your lifestyle services and products to your customers.
Without this in place, your business will fail.
2. Developing Customer Engagement Standards
If you are a small business, you should 100% be the only person engaging with your customers. There is no agency you can hire that will be able to do that better than you. If you are a larger business, it is your job to set and monitor customer engagement standards.
So why is this so significant? Why can’t you just hire someone to handle this? Well, the client’s experience is more than just sales and closing leads. It’s about making sure your customers are being heard. If they have questions, you want to provide them with real answers. If they have obstacles, you want to make sure you provide them with clear solutions. And most importantly, as a lifestyle business, you want your customers to feel that connection to your brand.
3. Implementing Signature Services
For those of you who have businesses that are based on a service or skill, it’s your job to responsible for that signature service. For example, let’s say you own a winery and your signature service is to do personalized wine tastings to the elite, built around their lifestyle. This unique service takes someone with years of knowledge and a passion for the products that you offer in your winery. The customers that purchase this service, have to fill out an in depth questionnaire that allows you to hand pick wines that fit them and their personalities. This cornerstone service is what gets big spenders into the door, and translates to more significant sales.
When you have a signature service, you cannot delegate that to anyone else on your team. You can consider ways to automate certain aspects of the service, like providing a digital questionnaire, or hiring a vetting employee to keep track of scheduling and luxury inventory. You can even outsource the marketing of your signature service. But when it comes to maintaining relationships and doing the luxury wine tastings, those cannot be delegated.
3. Financial Management and Oversight
If you are like me, finances can be overwhelming. I know that many business owners, particularly in lifestyle related industries, would rather do what they are passionate about and completely delegate the financial part of running a business.
While you should outsource/delegate bookkeeping, taxes, etc, you should always be knowledgeable of the financial state of your company. Knowing these things allow you to make changes in your business and adjust your vision.
Running a business you are passionate about is great, but it’s also important to acknowledge that you want your business to be profitable. You want to be able to make a living from your passion, and not just survive, but thrive.
Finding the right people for your business culture is probably one of the most critical jobs of a business owner. You spent hours planning your mission, vision, and values, so to not be involved in the hiring process is incomprehensible. You cannot afford to hire an employee who does not believe in your brand.
I firmly believe that it doesn’t matter if you have less than five employees or more than 500 employees, you should still be involved in hiring. Even if it just means to meet and speak with every prospect before they start their job.
Hire slow and fire fast they say. Probably the oldest and best advice for any business owner. One bad employee can eat away at the soul of your business. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s necessary if you want to see your business grow.
Firing can also be a good thing. It can bring you some much-needed clarity, especially if you sit down and have an open dialogue with the employee. Asking the hard questions like why they didn’t fit and also getting feedback will help you when hiring a new person for that position.
6. Leadership and Employee Development
So many business owners think that once the initial training is done, people can take it from there. That is so far from the truth. In actuality, training and onboarding employees, is only step 1 and can be delegated to someone else. The development of your team to ensure they are evolving with your business is more important than onboarding.
Skipping out on leadership and employee development will eventually leave your team incapable of performing responsibilities. This can put cracks in your foundation and stunt growth.
7. Organization Wide Decisions
Any decision, which will affect your business as a whole, are yours and yours alone. No one should ever make a judgment that would change the fabric of your business. You can lean on your team for feedback, input, and fact gathering, but the final decision should be yours. This is called a strategic decision, and by definition, it belongs to the business owner.
This topic has been on my mind a lot lately, as I am preparing for business growth. I wanted to share some of my thought process and findings to help other women entrepreneurs making those hard decisions in their business.
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