The President of the Marks Group shares his experience with us:

I run a ten person company and it’s profitable. I’m not making millions, but the company does well enough to provide for my people and my family. It wasn’t always this way, though.

For the first five or six years in business, I barely made a living. It wasn’t for lack of work. I was really busy. But my business wasn’t growing. It wasn’t successful. I asked myself, Why? And I asked some of my successful clients. The answer, they told me, was that I was asking the wrong questions.

The successful business owners with whom I work and collaborate are passionate, hardworking, bright, creative and entrepreneurial. But they have something else in common. Each day, many times a day, they ask themselves a simple question. Can you guess what it is?

You’re thinking it has something to do with marketing, competition, cash flow or strategy. Yes, it has to do with all that. And yet it’s also about none of that.


The one simple question successful business owners are always asking is:

Who will do it for me?

These words were, to me, a life-altering discovery. This is what separates the successful business owners I know from the ones that never win. They are not lazy people. They are not avoiding responsibilities. They are leaders and managers. And they are successful.

Every day when you run a business there are things to do, tasks to complete, projects to work on, questions to be answered and problems to be solved. Many business owners shoulder these burdens. They take it upon themselves to solve every issue. They equate being busy with being successful.

They justify their own importance and think they must do it all. They don’t trust others to do the work. They believe no one else can do what they do. And this belief dooms them.

Why do CEOs and senior managers of large corporations make so much money? It’s because they are able to motivate, manage and lead tens of thousands of other to do what needs to be done to accomplish their goals.

So what should you do? Ask yourself the same question: Who will do it for me?

The next time a customer makes a request or a problem or an issue needs to be resolved, don’t sigh and calculate how much time and sacrifice is going to be required of you. Don’t complain about all the hours this will take away from your family. Don’t be frustrated that this new problem will divert your energy from something else.

Instead, ask yourself: Who will do it for me?

If there is someone in the company who is capable, or at least could be asked to give it a shot, then rely on that person. If not, outsource the task.

Take a step back. Delegate and trust. This is not easy because you are not used to giving up control. But if you want to really succeed as a business owner and manager, understand this: Your true value is not to try and do everything yourself but to lead and manage.

Let other people “do stuff”. Let your people make their mistakes. Allow them to grow. If they are given the opportunity to step up to the plate, they will hit the ball.

And you will benefit and grow.


This article appeared first in October, 2014