Friday, February 08, 2008


Louise and I were out of town for a few days. When we returned, I noticed a bar stool sitting in the back room. I was told that there were some screws loose. I quickly grabbed a screwdriver, tightened the screws and returned the stool to the counter.

It wasn’t until several minutes later that I realized that there is not one of our fifteen employees who are not capable of turning a screwdriver. When I related this incident to other small business owners, they all agreed that this is a common problem among entrepreneurs. We are so use to quickly solving problems that we have inadvertently trained our people to wait for us to solve their problems, no matter how small.

I realized that by not allowing, in fact insisting, that problems be solved by those present, I have made much more work for myself and stunted the growth of the business. This is probably why most start-ups need a new person to take the business to the next level. The entrepreneur is just not willing or able to hand over responsibility to others.

I would like to think that I have learned my lesson, but the truth is doing things myself is part of my make-up. “Empowering” others does not come easy.

There seem to be two types of people. Corporate types who can easily say, “That’s not MY job.” And entrepreneurs types who think everything is their job. It is hard to find a middle ground.