Curiously, I know an entrepreneur just starting out that believes it’s best to delegate everything even with two employees and a small amount of angel funding. To him, it’s imperative that he always be available to answer questions and act as traffic manager for the different projects in motion. That’s right: with no customers, no product launched, and no business yet being an entrepreneur is about managing and not doing to him.
I don’t know about you but the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve met are the kind of guys and gals that roll up their sleeves and make stuff happen. It’s in their blood — they can’t help but be productive.
Here’s another aspect of entrepreneurship that isn’t talked about: you should learn enough yourself to be dangerous so that you can manage someone else doing it. How many times have you heard a sales rep complain that the sales manager doesn’t know what they are doing because they’ve haven’t been in sales themselves? How about software engineers complaining that management doesn’t understand technology? When you learn it, and especially if you master it, you become a much better manager of it.
Entrepreneurs are often a jack of all trades, master of one (not none) type person. Being able to pick up a variety of different skills so that you can make better decisions and be a better manager helps out tremendously. Entrepreneurs often have one thing they’re good at and spend a decent percentage of their time doing it (e.g. sales, marketing, product management, engineering, etc). Now, you should still play to your strengths and not spend too much time on your weaknesses (your unique ability). My recommendation is to get dirty and learn as much as you can. You’ll be better off for it.
What else? What other thoughts do you have on learning stuff so you can manage others doing it?