My Proficorn Way (Part 9)

Delegate to Grow

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is trying to do it all themselves. This eventually stunts their growth. Delegating is perhaps the most important factor for scaling an enterprise. It determines the eventual success.

For me, delegating came easily. I have always been a big-picture person. I don’t like to get into too many details. I had to do that early on, but as soon as I can find someone else who can take a task over and do it well, I get out of the way. That is the only way to grow – because an entrepreneur’s life is always about solving new problems as they come.

Delegating requires trusting your team. It means hiring people who are better than you at something. You cannot babysit them for long. It means trusting them to do the right thing – without second-guessing them. It is not easy. For an entrepreneur, the venture is all that is there – and there are so many worries about things going wrong. Yet, a balance has to be found. Because without delegation, decisions will all get stuck and eventually, growth will stagnate.

I was forced into delegating in the early days of IndiaWorld. I had to be the external face – meeting customers, and later potential investors. I would also travel to learn – attending conferences outside India. So, I had to necessarily start trusting my team to do the right things – I could no longer clear every story published or review every headline. Once I realised that my time could get freed up, I took to delegating even more. People also liked the responsibility and trust that came with delegation.

To make delegation work, one has to accept that some mistakes will happen. One has to deal with those carefully. Be too lenient and complacency can creep in; be too harsh and before one realises it, every small decision will be pushed up a level. It is this fine-tuning that entrepreneurs have to get right.

I am one who likes uninterrupted time to think, read and write. I like to think ahead – imagine what the world will be, and what I can do. This deep thinking cannot happen with a steady stream of interrupts via phone calls and Whatsapp messages. Deciding what not to decide becomes equally important.

For 10 years between 2009 and 2018, I dabbled on the periphery of politics. Netcore grew nearly 50X during this period. Netcore had professional CEOs, and I let them run the business. I separated ownership from management. Even now, as I play a more active role at Netcore, I report to the CEO for the tasks that I am doing. Knowing that there are better people than me to run and grow Netcore is a great satisfaction – that I made the right choices. Proficorns are born from such decisions.

Tomorrow: My Proficorn Way (Part 10)

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