IT firms are started by intelligent, can-do, technically minded people who develop a business around a technical skill they have. Because of their can-do nature they lead and build from the front fixing and learning as they go, all whilst growing their firm. Sound familiar?
What growth stage are you at?
Now this works well when you are in the “Start-Up Stage”. In fact, for many people this is probably the only way they can operate initially because they are funding from cash flow and don’t have the people whom to delegate the work to. You do the finances, you setup the IT system, you manage all the stakeholders, you build the website. The list that needs to be worked on grows day after day, and it seems you are the only person who can work on it.
Then you move into the next stage of growth which we like to call “Pre-Lifestyle Stage”. This is where your business has gone beyond start-up. You probably have somewhere between 8-25 people on board, with some of your people even having the word “Manager” or “Team Leader” in their title.
Managers not Managing?
And yet you still seem to looking after everything. People bring you all the problems to solve, they still ask you to make most of the day-to-day decisions and you are probably doing all the selling (even though you had “promoted” one of your technical people to sell, just 6 months earlier). You still make all the final decisions on hiring (and firing), on finances, reviewing invoices, purchasing, meeting marketing people, and vendors, and partners. Your work-week extends to weekends and when the server goes down you’re the one in at midnight trying to restore the last backup. The list is endless.
And this is where your business stops. You were the Chief Problem Solver, the smartest person in the room. Now you are the Chief Bottleneck.
It was great being the one with all of the bright ideas, and solutions, but you have “trained” your team, your clients and your vendors to be totally dependent on you, and you are required to think of pretty much everything.
What needs to change?
So what’s got to change? YOU; you have to change. Not your business, but YOU.
Don’t solve the problem, don’t make the decision. Educate, empower and trust your people to do it. If they can’t do it, then get people who can.
If you don’t change the way that you work with people, then you are doomed to stay trapped in your business for a long, long time to come, and your business will be stuck where it is.
Find out where you are…
To find out what stage you are at download our free Stages of Growth white paper.
About Twenty Mile March
Twenty Mile March is a Business Education & Coaching company specifically designed for founder-operators of IT Service firms with between $5M and $50M in revenue. We help them to grow, become more profitable, and to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.
To learn more about Twenty Mile March, check out our website at www.twentymm.com.
Paul is the author of “The Five Disciplines for Growing your IT Service Firm – Going from $5M to $50M revenue and beyond” – To be released early 2016