An African Proverb explains “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

This phrase has been in my mind since I heard it and describes the business dilemma that I see many business owners trapped in. They built their business on strength of will and countless hours. Add in late nights and working weekends as the initial years roll by.

This is for business owners that don’t have enough time to take their spouse out for a relaxing evening. After this big project, there will be more time. Once this phase is over, there will be more time to spend with (fill in the blank).

Yes, building a business does require extra time, effort and resources. Will there (and should there) be long days, late nights and working weekends? Yes. But be mindful of using all of your bandwidth all of the time because it becomes habit and your business can end up taking everything you are willing to give it and has no obligation to give back everything you want from it.

Just because you put in the hours doesn’t guarantee you success and honestly, how much money do you make per hour if you took your true net profit and divided it by the hours you put in?

Stay with me, it’s not all doom and gloom.

If we’ve developed the habit of always going fast to solve the problems, get the sales and pay the bills, when should we change gears so we can now go “far”? And how can we begin to do that?

Begin now. Just like you began your business with speed, build your new methods of business leadership right now. Take one of your next projects and either delegate it or incorporate one (or more) of your employees into the decisioning on it.

“But Chris, they might screw up. Then I’d have to fix it and redo it and that would take more time than if I just did it myself. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself is the mantra.”

Yeah, it is, but you better be prepared to do it yourself forever no scale in your business. You grow your business by replicating yourself, not simply working more hours. Work smart and work hard and you’ve got a good long-term plan cooking.

Perhaps at first, your employees need to learn the processes but once they have mastered those steps, can they make it better?

After building several businesses myself, I’d say the most rewarding was the one that the most successful managers came from. It also was the most profitable and I was home at the dinner table by 6 PM most evenings. I had time to coach YMCA teams with my kids and volunteer for some non-profits that were important to me.

Be careful what you own because what you own tends to own you back. Do you own your business or does your business own you?

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