Inspiration comes in all forms and this Easter break I was reminded of my (now) 18 year old son’s fiercely independent streak when he was a small child. We laughed as we reminisced at his total lack of fine motor skills and yet being completely intent on tying his own shoelaces, usually as I attempted to bundle he and his older brother out of the door at a time when we were already running late. As emotions mounted and I tried to intervene to help and to move the situation along in a timely manner, I was faced with “my do it” which translates into ‘I can do it, leave me alone’. ‘My do it’ was a frequent shout from my stubbornly independent toddler with sticky little hands pushing my hands out of his way. Now he is a little more savvy and can see that there is a time to learn and a time to ask for help.

In an owner run business there is a history of having nobody around to do anything other than yourself. From the concept of the business to the first invoice and everything in between, chances are the tasks have landed on only one or two pairs of shoulders in the early days. As a business grows it is incredibly difficult to know when to hand over a task, train someone else to do a task, ask for help in something you know very little about or just admit that you are exhausted and are about to have a meltdown through lack of rest or food or both. ‘My do it’ lives on although it’s not so easy to spot in fiercely independent business owners who have, in all likelihood, always thought for themselves, done things for themselves and are frankly a bunch of rebels in the best possible way.

There is a time to learn, practice and train and there is a time when experience and efficiency reign. As an owner run business that is growing rapidly a key focus should be sharing the workload, looking to grow people into their next role, taking on new talents. But that is likely only for those who join your ship. In the early years it is your innate talent and passion that drives the business forward. Keeping up to date with your industry, with one eye firmly on where you want to take your business and the other on your amazing team, you have little time to transform yourself into a graphic designer (Accountant, Film maker) over night, so don’t! Neither should you be dropping back into sending invoices if you have an amazingly competent team who have ‘got this’. Tell your ‘my do it’ to back off. Let expertise run the show.

On that note, the middle of a stormy sea is no time to hand your newest, naivest recruit the rudder and expect it to all be ok. Training in a storm is best to be avoided at all costs so plan training, changes, development for calmer times ahead. If your team lacks a competence it may be worth while looking to a valued external in the short term. I always think the most professional people are the ones who are also happy to up-skill others to create a seamless handover. So if you are in need of a graphic designer or film maker try to go for one who will be only too happy to show you how to tie your own shoe laces and yet will get the job done in a crisis.