Entrepreneurs are smart, creative, energetic, and driven. “Driven” is what gets it done. They are the CEO, the technical expert, the marketing department, the supervisor, the customer service rep, the accountant, and they take out the trash, too. They do everything, and they are so good at what they do their businesses thrive and grow market share. They add employees, locations, product and service lines. They are still entrepreneur-ing, but on larger scales. Then, they hit the wall. There is absolutely no more of their time and energy to be had. Their personal capacity starts to limit their business’s capacity. But, must the vigor of the business be compromised because the entrepreneur is spent?
What if employees could take on some of the entrepreneur’s work? What if employees could increase their expertise in general? What if employees took co-responsibility for the business’s success?
Entrepreneurs hire talented people, who share enthusiasm for the business. They feel a stake in its success. Each employee makes unique and valuable contributions towards that success. What if the entrepreneur ratcheted up using and developing employees’ talents and levels of accountability? What if the entrepreneur could do that with minimal expense? The business would develop a competitive edge.
The answer is: delegate and mentor. Entrepreneurs are famous for not wanting to give up the controls. Even when exhausted, entrepreneurs tend to hold on to the reins tenaciously. A workplace mentoring system provides a structured method for delegating according to needs of the business, strengths of the individuals, and coaching for success. Mentors, whether the entrepreneur or other staff members, pay close attention to mentees to make sure control is everyone’s issue rather than just the entrepreneur’s. The more control is shared, the less the entrepreneur has to hold those reins.
What are common results that entrepreneurs get when they install a workplace mentoring system in their businesses? They expand the capacity of the organization–employees take co-responsibility for success. They develop leaders and build teams. Mentors gain leadership skills as they learn to communicate effectively, plan and measure performance goals and give feedback objectively. Learning curves are faster, as mentees are given individual attention, and are coached to think through challenges themselves. These entrepreneurs differentiate themselves from the competition because the whole staff is focused on teaching and learning from each other. Knowledge capital stays with the organization, even if key people leave. And key people are less likely to leave, when given the opportunities to grow that a mentoring organization offers. June Juliano, owner of Acapello Salons and the Men’s Room, is a role model for successfully using delegating and mentoring as fundamental strategies for her business’s growth. Her Southern Maine business remains entrepreneurial even as it expands, thanks to her creativity in developing her employees.