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Your Energy Is Like Currency. Invest It Wisely to See the Greatest Rewards.

Finding a balance between removing yourself from a business while remaining present enough to ensure smooth function can be crucial to its success.

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A common problem company owners encounter is how and when to remove themselves from its daily processes. After all, heroic efforts have been made by these individuals to build a corporate backbone, develop a client base and perfect the technicalities of efficiently serving customers, while also planning for the long term. That said, it’s critical for an enterprise to be able to survive the departure (either in part or entirely) of its founder if the aim is durable success. Such a transition could take anywhere from six months to a year, but once you have an internal infrastructure with a proper chain of command in place — it will free up time for a chief executive to, among other things, focus on growing the company in entirely new ways. Simply put, if the founder were to leave tomorrow, and the company falls apart as a result, there might be something wrong with the equation. 

Your energy is like currency: Knowing where to invest it is a skill that takes time to develop. Periodically, you need to ask yourself, “How much of my mental capital is being used to keep this process going?” Because the more time you can free to innovate, create, network and otherwise grow, the greater your success will be. 

Adaptable work models

As a company grows, systems and structures often don’t just need to be optimized: Rather, they need to be torn down and rebuilt. In order for yours to stay ahead of the curve, it needs to be primed to adapt to rapidly changing environments. The lesson is to never become complacent in services or infrastructure, and to not to be married to a single work model. Constantly returning to the drawing board can be frustrating, and it’s always easier to rework something that’s already half built rather than completely tearing it down, but this hard work can make for peaceful and profitable transitions later on.

Related: Visualization Is Essential for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Find the right company tools

At one point in a career that has included founding various tech and media startups, I spent more than a week debating whether I should use ClickUp or Notion for team management software, and wound up going with the former. After three months, however, it was clear to me that it was not a perfect fit. I then spent two more weeks moving everything over to Notion, a switch that tuned out to be crucial for our growth.

Adopting the right tools for your company’s daily processes can be stressful and tricky. Even with weeks of careful research, it’s hard to get it perfectly right, and that’s what you need: perfectly right. Similar to riding a bike, you only really learn how the tool will fit after testing it out. Finding the perfect cocktail (which might include Notion, Freshdesk, Quickbooks, Google Drive, etc.) takes time, and the truth is that there is never an absolute answer, it’s all dependent on the internal mechanics of your enterprise. So, coming back to my earlier point, as a company grows it is inevitable that you will outgrow tools, and so should never get too comfortable with any one (or more), but be completely open to throwing them away and starting fresh.

Create robust reporting protocols

Not being able to easily see what people are working on or what tasks have been accomplished can easily increase tension and stress within a system. Setting up reporting protocols reduces the need for follow-ups, allowing professionals to focus on their skill sets and managers to keep track of the workflow. They also make the transfer of data from different departments and time zones more robust, which is essential for scaling. (You don’t want to wait 12 hours for a contractor to clock back in when a client is waiting on an update.)

Related: 3 New Productivity Tools That Can Automate Your Workday

Now that we’ve established some strategies for better managing the micro processes of an enterprise, let’s turn to a macro process: scaling.

The time to build

The goal as a founder should be to spend the majority of time making the most out of your unique skills; as the face of your company, focus will be on bringing in quality clients, expanding your network and making new connections that can translate into new services. I’ve found that a winning time-oscillation is a back-and-forth between infrastructure/systems-building and bringing in growth. Sometimes the former gets 80% of your energy, letting growth take up the rest, followed by a pivot to growth emphasis, letting infrastructure take the back seat for a bit…then back and forth again. Your most important task, of course, is to optimize growth, whether that’s through spending more time honing the hiring process or building new service outlets.

Related: 40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

There might be trepidation involved in letting go of tasks you’re used to performing, especially if you’re accustomed to things being done a certain way, but as a company grows, you have to come to terms with the fact that you can’t run in every direction without losing focus, which is why you have to prioritize where you allocate time.

It might be helpful to reframe your thinking from “letting go” to “building great teams that make up a superb company.” The higher the quality of your services, after all, the more competitive your business will become. Also keep in mind that it can be quite a rewarding process to help others excel in their roles and careers. Employees’ successes can reflect the success of the company itself, and scaling properly simply cannot be done without spending the time to build a foundation, which means people.

Removing oneself can be an emotional process, but it’s necessary in order to take on more important roles and grow a company to its maximum potential. Your hunger for entrepreneurship will never cease, and it’s important to effectively turn ideas into value products or services while having the free mental space to identify and capitalize on the next great idea.

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