Control Your Business or It Will Control You

There are two problems with control – too much, and not enough. The challenge is to find the right balance.

Early on in my business I ran a bakery, restaurant and fortune cookie operation. I was working 80 hours a week and involved in every small detail. I was in control, but felt out of control!

After talking with an adviser, I decided to close the restaurant and focus on making fortune cookies. Before long we were shipping hundreds-of-thousands of cookies a day. During that time I had four young children who needed my attention, so I let employees make my business decisions for me. While I don’t entirely regret this, soon I learned the hazards of too little control! I became a stranger to my own business, and it took a lot of time and money to make the necessary adjustments.

Control is kind of like driving a car. If you clutch the steering wheel too tight and never pull over to a rest stop you could end up in the ditch. At the same time, if you don’t pay attention to where you’re going, you will get lost.

There are no easy answers to the challenge of control. But I have learned some important lessons along the way. First, I always reserve the right to make final decisions, yet welcome new ideas. Second, I pay close attention to what’s going on in my business and ask my team many questions. I find my balance through understanding and awareness.

So think about your own life a minute. How do you balance control?

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