The first two years of my first business my partner and I did every job in the company. In fact those first years are a blur because most of it was spent in a delivery van driving cross-country (I put over a 200,000 miles on my van those first 2 years) to stores and to shows. It was the very definition of a lean startup pushing ourselves and the two employees we had to the limit. The problem is we spent all our time working in the business and not working on it.

If you want to run a successful business you have to know how to play to your strengths. It's pretty easy to micromanage everything. You may think that you can get things done better and more efficiently than anyone else. That might even be true, but all the time you are spending doing jobs that other people could be doing is time that you are not running your business. When you get bogged down in simple details that your employees could be working on, you are not being an effective leader.

As the leader of your business, you are responsible for spotting problems and delegating solutions. You are responsible for setting goals and thinking about the future. The only person in your company who will be genuinely motivated to grow your company is you. Every minute that you spend working on tasks that can be delegated is a minute that you are not planning, strategizing and building the best business possible.

This is why it's important to work on your business, not in your business. You are in charge of the big picture. When you see areas that need improvement, delegate the work out, so you can continue to be the troubleshooter and visionary that you need to be. It may take some practice if you're used to getting really hands on in your business, but your employees will appreciate the trust and responsibility you give them, and you will quickly learn that you can do the job of leading your business that no one else can do!

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Published on: Apr 6, 2015