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It is natural to fear what you can’t control. Over 70% of small businesses in the United States shut down in March 2020, and as of this writing, many small business owners are still looking for ways to adapt their business to a new world. Times of dramatic change probably make you want to hold on to your habits and history a little tighter. We get it.

Running a brick-and-mortar business is a huge challenge. Expanding a business into ecommerce doubles, if not triples, that work. Selling online and digital marketing also require a range of unique skills and expertise. Mastery of skills like SEO and pay per click advertising can take years. 

But the one constant in this world is change. You can’t anticipate and prepare your small business for a fast-changing future without dedicating your personal time and energy. It’s not healthy or effective to work more hours than you already do. The only logical solution to this challenge is letting go of control. 

3 ways letting go of control can help you succeed

Decide where you want to let go of control
Make more room for your priorities
Leadership vs. management

Letting go of control is tough for any small business owner. You feel a deep personal connection to your business and the way you’ve built it up over time. You hold yourself personally accountable for the results of your efforts. You handpicked your team. You know your budget inside out and you feel every risk or gamble that doesn’t pay off in your heart and in your wallet. 

This means that changes, especially fast unanticipated changes, can be debilitating. When every day at the office feels like a little bit too much, it’s time to let go of some control. 

Many articles have smart long-term strategies for letting go of control in a spiritual sense. These posts focus on how to improve your personal well-being and they usually focus on habits and strategies that will help you get better at letting go of control over time.

A woman manages her team in this article about letting go of control from Selz ecommerce for business growth

The challenge here is that life is always busy, and your inbox is full of well-meaning advice. If you are running a business you may need a strategy to let go that is more sale-focused than soul-focused. 

Where and how you let go is up to you, but this article includes ideas for shoring up your team, what you can outsource or delegate and how letting go of control can be the best decision you can make for business success.

Decide where you want to let go of control

Many of you started on the path to business success with an idea and a dream. 55% of small business owners started their business because they wanted to be their own boss. 39% started a business to pursue what they are most passionate about. It makes sense. You want to be independent and you want to succeed.

New business ideas often stem from your passions, your life and experience. Over time you’ve taken on more tasks and learned new skills to help grow your business. This often means that some aspects of your business get more attention than others. 

There are only so many hours in a day, so you pay the most attention to the parts of your business that are most important to you. But that doesn’t always equal business success. Do you love coming up with products and hate bookkeeping? Or love strategy but can’t stand marketing? 

When you’re trying to decide where to let go of control, these questions can help:

  • What do you want to hold on to?
  • What skills do you bring to the table that no one else has?
  • What skills do you want to work on?
  • What percentage of your time do you want to dedicate to those tasks?
  • How much time will you need to dedicate to those tasks to make a difference?
Two people have a strategic meeting to discuss control of the business operations

If you came into your business as the ideas person, chances are that’s your best and most fulfilling role. As your business grows you may find that you’re spending more time stressing about fulfillment or marketing than innovation. 

If you want to spend more time developing strategy or creating new products you may want to hire a freelancer to help cover some of your tasks so you can focus on the passion that started your business in the first place. Automations and apps can also free up time and energy so you can focus.

Make more room for your priorities

Many leaders obtain business success by trusting their instincts, but in times of upheaval it can be tough to relax enough to access those hunches. The risk involved is a bigger deal and the stakes are higher. If you don’t want more staff to manage, another great strategy is to hire an outside expert. 

For example, if you’ve run your brick and mortar store for 20 years, you may have some ideas about how you want your online store to look, but you don’t want to learn how to build a website. This means letting go of the website building process

It can be scary letting go of control, but it also gives you peace of mind knowing that your ecommerce site is being created by experts who know what works in ecommerce and what customers expect when they buy online.

If you're not a marketing expert it may be smarter to outsource pay per click advertising or ecommerce SEO for business success

Are you a marketing expert?

Marketing is another area where letting go of control can be a smart strategy. Many small businesses rely heavily on social media. But organic posting isn’t enough, and too many businesses take a hit when they rely too much on a single marketing channel for business success.

If you’ve ever read any article about SEO basics, you know how exhausting SEO can be. While it’s essential to optimize your online presence for search, becoming an SEO expert takes years of focus. Pay per click advertising isn’t easy either. Finding the right keywords, A/B testing, ad copy, building landing pages and remembering the requirements for multiple platforms is a full-time job. 

Learning how to get everything just right and constant optimizing is a joy for some but it’s an expensive headache for many others. You can decide to let go of those parts of your marketing mix.

An outside service can be scary if you’re a perfectionist. Up to this point, you’ve had control of every aspect of your business and it makes sense if you don’t want that to change. That said, holding onto control of every aspect of your business also holds you to unrealistic expectations.

Professionals in digital marketing have spent years learning their skills. They also dedicate hours each week to learning about the constant changes and updates that affect SEO and ad performance. 

If your first love isn’t digital marketing, letting go of control in these critical areas can be a boon to your business. It can give you time to redirect your attention to the aspects of your business that most directly impact its success.

Read more: Small Business Advertising Services: How We Tell Your Story

Selz advertising services can help you let go of control and still grow your business

Leadership vs. management

For some small businesses, growth happens in dramatic fits and spurts. These shifts affect when you make new hires.  Around 52% of surveyed business owners say that their biggest challenge is finding qualified staff. Letting go of control is impossible when you can’t trust your team. So another strategy for business success is changing how you lead and manage your team.

Leading a small business is often like leading a family. You think as carefully as you can about each new hire. You labor over every decision that has the potential to impact your business. During stressful times the pressure of that responsibility is sometimes too much. It feels like everything is on your shoulders and that makes it tough to accommodate let alone innovate.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you leading your business or managing it? 
  • Do you have time in your everyday schedule to consider long-term goals or are you focused on tiny everyday details?
  • Do you trust your team or do you second-guess their decisions?
A man works on a project feeling overwhelmed and is thinking that letting go of control is his best option moving forward

To let go of control as a leader you need to build the right team and you need to believe in them. It’s also important to find management strategies that work for your personality. 

Read more

How to Hire the Right Person to Grow Your Business (And Your Team)
Three Differences Between Managers and Leaders
How to Be a Great Business Leader: The Small Business Owner’s Ultimate Guide
How to Lead Versus Manage, to Improve Your Team’s Success

It makes sense that you want control of every aspect of your business during this critical time. You also want to focus your limited resources on the areas where they can have the most impact. Letting go of control may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. It can also be your most effective strategy for long-term business success.

About the author

Jana Rumberger

Jana is a writer and Content Manager at Selz. She has expertise in ecommerce strategy, selling products online, and small business solutions. Jana combines diverse experience in education, design, and manufacturing to craft engaging content.

In addition to her writing, she is a visual artist and foodie in Portland, Oregon.