For a lot of people, running a business is about making money. But, for me there is so much more to running my company than that. Sure, I love the opportunity to create profits, but I also love that I can do what I love, set my own schedule, and work with some of the best people in the industry.
I also enjoy trying to build the very best business possible. I want to see my clients succeed. I always tell them, it's in our best interest that the work we do for them is profitable. If it isn't, we lose a client!
As a manager, I want to see my team succeed. I want to give them the opportunity to build their strengths, and explore new areas, all while trying to create an environment where they do not dread coming to work on Monday morning.
Very few people are an island amongst themselves, and even fewer have succeeded solely on their own. I admire many of the sole practitioners in the SEO industry, but frankly, I don't understand how they do it. It is a very difficult role to be an expert in SEO, link building, copywriting, analytics, PPC, social media, conversion analysis and coding all at once. Not to mention the time spent blogging, reporting, reading, analyzing, testing, and keeping up with the latest industry changes. That sounds like several full-time jobs to me, so kudos to those that can do it all!
I figure they either have more hours in the day than I do, or they are getting paid an hourly rate which I have yet to attain!
But, the job I particularly enjoy is the role of Project/Client Manager. As much as I love everything about SEO, I love running the business even more. As our company has grown, it's taking quite a bit of an effort for me to let go of the old jobs and delegate those responsibilities to others. But, I can't do it all. This, after all, is the purpose of having a team.
D.L. Moody once said, "You can do the work of ten men, or get ten men to do the work." For a business owner, doing the work of ten men yourself has its advantages. It puts more money in your pocket while also building feelings of pride and self-accomplishment. You have no one to blame for mistakes, and you can make sure the job gets done right the first time.
The gains with such a do-it-all-yourself mentality can be substantial. But, what you lose is often far more valuable than what you gain.
I used to not mind working 10-12 hours a day, but over the past couple of years, I realized that I wasn't leaving much time for my kids. Not as much time as they would have liked, anyway.
Several years ago I talked to a very successful business woman about her company. She told me that she decided early on that she was not going to work more than eight hours in a day. Today she flies all over the country and performs seminars for business owners looking to capitalize on their wealth, but is still determined to keep her workload to something that can be managed in those 40 hours each week.
This flies in the face of the mentality of most small business owners, including mine at that time. We're told that you have to put in 50-80 hour work weeks in order to succeed. Maybe this is true for a lot of small businesses, but unfortunately, once most start down that path, they find it hard to slow down and start delegating responsibilities. This, I believe, hinders their growth potential and leads to stress, burnout, and, in many cases, a lot of problems in their personal lives.
I think the goal of any business owner should be to grow their business to the point where the business operates effectively without their involvement. The owner continues collect a paycheck from their investment, while doing very little of the ongoing work.
I know this is my goal, at least.
That means that I have to focus more on growing the company and less on doing the work of the company. I make it a point to find good people that know (or can learn) more than I do about key service areas we offer. I might be able to be really good at any number of things, but I can't be an expert in all of them. So I'll find someone who is.
I never read the book Robin Hood, but years ago a friend of mine who did told me something interesting about the story. Robin would never let anyone into his gang that couldn't beat him in a fight. If Robin could kick their butt, they were out. But, if they could kick his, then they were welcomed in.
I try to use that same principle with my business. I want to hire people who do (or are capable of) knowing their area of expertise better than I do. Hiring this way ensures I get quality people and I have less to worry about when delegating responsibilities to them.
Unfortunately, too many business owners and managers are unable--or unwilling--to delegate responsibilities, despite the fact that this often holds them back from greater success.
There are four main reasons people don't delegate:
One of the greatest fears managers and bosses have is that their employees may end up knowing more about something than they do. Once this happens, they fear, the employee will leave the job for greener pastures, demand more pay, or worse, take their job title from them.
Poor managers combat this by holding on to certain jobs and over burdening themselves with busy work that would best be handled by someone else. By being fearful of losing position, or power, the inadvertent result is a sabotaging of the business.
Delegation requires trusting others to make important decisions and allowing them to gain the knowledge and the skills necessary to do that without your input. That can be a scary thing.
It's often very true that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. But at the same time, if you don't want to have to do everything yourself, you've got to delegate tasks to others.
Will they ever fail? Yes. Will they cause delays, loss of money, and even lose a client or two? There is certainly that risk. But, there is no reward without a bit of risk attached. Properly implemented delegation can take small risks and turn them into far greater rewards.
Pride can be a very strong inhibitor to doing the right thing. Smart business people surround themselves with people that have potential to shine, and help them achieve greatness!
While he was president, Ronald Reagan had a plaque in the oval office that read, "There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." People in leadership positions often want the credit for their leadership capabilities. However, delegating means that somebody else might be recognized for a job well done that you may have had a strategic hand in.
You can see that as someone else taking credit away from you, or see it as a credit to yourself for helping this person get such accolades. Instead of being afraid that someone below you will get rewarded for a job well done, you can take credit for finding, training, and building a team that is extraordinary.
If you're worried about losing your position, then chances are you're not doing what you need to do to keep it.
I'm a very task-oriented person. I know what needs to be done, know how to do it and can do it faster than anybody else I know. (I'm humble, too!) That means I have little patience when others I've delegated tasks to are not as quick as I am.
Therein lies the difficulty in delegating. You usually only do it when you can't handle the workload any more and, by that time, you're so swamped you don't have the time to bring someone new up to speed.
But, this is also why delegating early is so important. By delegating, each task may take more time individually, but collectively you get a lot more done in the same amount of time. Doing the work of ten men may seem noble, and give you a nice boost in pride, but it's been said that nobody lies on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at work!
Whether you're running an online business, are a marketing manager or perhaps managing an SEO firm, delegating your SEO responsibilities isn't just about freeing up your time to do more things outside of work (clearly a benefit), it's also about freeing up your time at work to be the brains rather than the brawn. Letting others do the "important" operational tasks frees you up to provide more oversight, develop new ideas and make your company more profitable.
Theodore Roosevelt said, "The best leader is the one who has a sense to pick good people to do what he or she wants done, and enough self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it." Good SEO delegation creates a business far greater than the sum of its parts.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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