By encouraging his staff to become problem solvers, Will watched his company grow from $2 million to $10 million in just four years.
The best ideas often come from the ground level.
Decentralization gives owners more time to grow a company and empowers staff and fosters loyalty.
Making mistakes is a necessary learning experience.
Employees don’t work for The Boss: they work for everybody in the business.
Keeping everyone (including the owner) in their own lanes results in a smooth running operation.
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So, you’ve launched your company, fought the fires and achieved the impossible…you’re a success!
But wait. Growth has stopped. You’ve hit the dreaded business plateau. To grow your business further you’re going to have to start delegating responsibilities to others. Yikes.
That’s a terrifying prospect; letting go of the reins. What if all that hard work goes south?
It’s a dilemma any successful entrepreneur will inevitably face. Just ask Will Brown. Four years ago he bought Brown Boys Roofing of Bentonville, Arkansas from his father, and the company had a revenue of $2 million annually. Today it’s $10 million.
How? He delegated power to others!
In this episode of Contractor Evolution, Will explains his strategies to solve the decentralization dilemma.
Here are five key takeaways:
1. Power To The People
Will decided to decentralize not only to free up his time, but also help staff succeed: “I started saying, I want you to be a problem solver, not just someone who comes to me to be your problem solver. Because if I’m the problem solver, then I’m the problem: I’m not empowering you to do what you need in order to succeed at what you’re supposed to be doing within our business.”
2. Set Limits
Will established specific delegation parameters for each segment of his business. “Our goal is to make customers happy, so I gave gutter installers a $250 limit to make that happen before he has to involve peers. The next level is mid-level management: their limit is $500. If they can’t make customers happy with that, then they go to the next level, which is the divisional manager, who has a $1,000 limit. And if making customers happy takes more than $1,000, I get involved.”
3. Allow for Mistakes. . .That Will Cost Money
“One thing I say at orientation is, ‘I expect you to make a mistake and cost me money,’” says Will. “That’s how I learned, by screwing up. When you screw up, you learn. The one thing I do expect, though, is after you make that mistake don’t make it again.”
4. Expose Staff To The Bigger Picture
Will exposes new recruits to every position within Brown Boys. “By doing that, it creates the understanding that you don’t work for me,” he explains, adding that business is a group effort, and one’s actions set up everyone else for success, or failure.
5. Stay In Your Lane
Once parameters are established it’s important not to violate them, otherwise the individual sense of ownership vital to decentralized command is jeopardized. Will found this out the hard way: “During a staff meeting I started outlining a plan that was the responsibility of another team, and immediately they were like, ‘Hey, you need to stay in your lane. Let us do this.’”
Will’s insights about command decentralization are incredible. They work. We’ll let Will tell you more: “I used to spend 60 hours a week working, whereas now the sales are better, the margins are better, I have less heartache, and I actually get to be with my family.”
Enjoy this episode of Contractor Evolution!