Your business has reached that crucial stage: do you hand some of the management responsibilities to someone else, or insist on retaining absolute control at the expense of growth? Nikki Viljoen offers some insights for those in this situation.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines ‘Entrepreneur” as ‘Person in effective control of commercial undertaking; one who undertakes a business or enterprise with chance of profit or loss; contractor acting as intermediary’ and “Manager” as ‘Person conducting a business institution.’ As you can see they are quite similar, but very different.

All the entrepreneurs that I know have a dream. They are also particularly skilled in whatever it is that they do – but here’s the question – does that mean that they are skilled in the “business of business”? The answer, if I am to be honest, is most definitely not. It’s not from a lack of passion you understand – it’s just that they are usually not particularly interested in the ‘running’ of a business (unless that is what their passion is) and therein lies the dilemma.

You see, at some point they are faced with a decision, and that is: ‘Should I continue to manage the company or stick with the dream?’

While the company is small and they’re working out of their garage or one of the bedrooms in their home, this is not really a problem; as the business grows however, more and more time will be spent on ‘the business of business’, which is the running of the business, and less and less time will be spent on doing what they love, which is what fueled their passion in the first place.

So when is the right time to hand over the reigns and the running of your business? Many folks say that there never is a right time, and some say it is when you are looking for investors or outside capital. To each individual who has faced this particular dilemma the timing may differ, but what does not differ is the difficultly in making the right choice.

Part of the problem is that many entrepreneurs are themselves good managers, but that may not be their passion or their dream and most of them think that they can do it all themselves. Personally, I think that the first decision that has to be made is: how big do you want to grow the company? How big is the dream? Is it one that will provide you and your family with enough income for you to live adequately or is the dream to own an empire – perhaps it is somewhere in between. Whatever your decision, it is really tough for anyone to relinquish their dream and hand it over to someone else to manage.

Once the decision has been made though, finding the right manager or management team to help you realize your dream is the next step. That often comes with its own particular set of headaches, so making sure that you are clear about what you want and where you want the business to go is of paramount importance.

Ultimately it will allow you, the entrepreneur, to do what you do best and that is to ‘dream’ and to turn those dreams into realities.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Small Business Forum

The Small Business Forum is an independent network of entrpreneurs and small business owners established to encourage and support the creation, growth and development of small business in South Africa.

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