When you create a new company by creating a product or products, you wear that all important hat of owner, the person in charge of growing the business and charting the course for the future. If you chose to create your company so that you would have a job that you control, that is not being the owner (by the definition above). You may be doing work that you find fulfilling, but someone still has to be the owner.

This is an ongoing dilemma for lots of startups. Somewhere in the early stages, the comfort zone gets stretched or the time that can be devoted to what the founder finds fulfilling gets squeezed. At that point, the owner has a set of interesting choices and decisions.

At this juncture, the owner has to determine which of the myriad responsibilities that are on the horizon are going to be something the owner wants to grow into being capable of owning, or would they prefer to delegate that to another. In its simplest form, this is the first step of scaling the business. Many owners have no idea what responsibilities are coming any more than a 4th grader knows what they will learn in 7th grade.

For a successful owner, willingness to dive in versus reluctance to engage is a defining awareness that those areas will soon come to a dead stop. The owner unwilling to take action or delegate responsibility is telling the marketplace and themselves “this is not our direction”.

And of course, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as that is a decision and not avoidance. As a decision, that lays out the course for the company creating clarity of direction. As an avoidance it simply adds a backlog of “issues not addressed” which becomes a longer and longer list of activities.

For people new to being the owner (entrepreneurs), confronting the difficult may challenge the picture of their business that they had in their minds and can become completely paralyzing. Once created, momentum is very easy to lose and retrieval requires renewed and redoubled energy. Developing a strong sense of what an owner will be engaged in and what they will delegate is the very first step toward professional management of the business, be it by the owner or someone else. Putting decision making in the hands of people, experienced or hungry to learn and eager to take on new challenges is how companies thrive.