Control
By Cynthia L. Umphrey

Are you a control freak? If you’re an entrepreneur, I bet you are. I know I am, at least a bit. As the head of your business, it’s hard to loosen your grip on every aspect of the company. But sometimes, you have to let others help you succeed.

For the past fifteen years, my clients have been mainly entrepreneurs so I’ve gained plenty of experience. While situations have differed from business to business, there are a few lessons that apply to everyone. Here’s what you need to know about giving up some control within your business.

WHY should I give up control?

If you cannot give up control properly, your business will not reach its full potential. You cannot possibly be the best person for everything.

WHEN should I consider giving up control?

It depends on your business model and the size of your operation. Here are signs that it’s time to let go of some control:

  • you are profitable but working ridiculous hours, or
  • you’re slogging through jobs better suited to others instead of shining in your true arena because you don’t trust anyone else or don’t want to pay for the help.

Don’t let fear of change stop you.

HOW do I start giving up control?

Start by assessing what you do best. Great sales people are not typically great at logistics. A mechanical genius may not be a human resources whiz. Input from fellow business owners and advisors increases the accuracy of your assessment. Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll know which responsibilities to keep and which ones are best suited for others.

Choose what area to back out of first. Then find the right person/team for a trial. This can be the hardest phase. Your goal is to communicate expectations clearly and require accountability, but leave enough flexibility to test your new person/team. This is a balancing act because you don’t want to stifle an amazing employee by over-managing her or let a bad choice create havoc.

Finally, plan out your changes over a period of time. One of the scariest things about giving up control is worrying that you’ll make things worse. You can prevent that with proper planning.

Managing control over your business is complicated. But if you harness your need for control, build a great team, and let them do their jobs, together you’ll make your company great. Then you’ll be a reformed control freak – at least a bit.


For further information regarding these matters, please contact Ms. Umphrey at 248.361.3857 or via email.