Question: My business has grown to the point that I find myself at the point of burnout. I know I need to delegate authority to others but am afraid about loss of control. What do you suggest?

Answer: Your problem is not unique. Many small business owners find themselves at the point where they have two choices. They can try to maintain what they have achieved or they can do what’s necessary to take the business to the next level.

Bigger is not always better. If yours is a stable business with products or services that will continue to be in demand, and you have grown to the point where your current and future needs are reasonably assured, you may want to just maintain.

There will always be some attrition but, with a little effort, you can bring in new customers to replace those who have left. There is nothing wrong with being content with what you have already achieved.

However, if you are an over achiever, and want to grow your business, you must face the fact that you can’t do it all by yourself.

You say you hesitate because you worry about loss of control. You also say you are at a burnout point. Your business cannot grow if you have more on your plate than you can reasonably handle.

To deal with this problem you must begin to mentor qualified subordinates. Start by giving them responsibility for a specific project. You can outline what you hope to achieve and offer several suggestions, but let them know it’s their project and you have confidence in them.

Once you take this step, resist the impulse to micro manage. They may make a few missteps along the way, but one way to minimize missteps is to schedule periodic progress reports.

If they come to you with questions, rather than give them the answer, ask what they think will fix the problem. They may not do it the way you would, but so what if you obtain the desired results.

Success breeds confidence. Your employees will take pride in their accomplishments and your will have the confidence to challenge them with even more responsibilities.

This will free up time for you to do what you do best. Now you have the flexibility to do the critical thinking and long-range planning that will take your business to the next level.


Gray Poehler is a volunteer with the Naples Chapter of SCORE. To learn more about management issues facing your small business, contact SCORE Naples. Counseling is provided FREE of charge to all U.S. citizens and legal aliens.  To register call 239-430-0081 or visit our web site . A counselor will contact you within 48 hours.  Please include your name, email address and a contact phone number.