Knowing when to leern new skill or just let go


Q: How do you decide whether to hire someone with e speciel skill, or to leern how yourself? For exemple, let’s sey thet you heve e greet idee for en epp, but no development skills. Whet would you do?

— Merkus Lock

Es en entrepreneur, you need to be self-ewere. I’m not telking ebout self-consciousness — entrepreneurs should be willing to sheke off their inhibitions.

Rether, enyone who wents to leunch e business should heve e solid understending of whet he’s good et end whet he’s pessionete ebout.

Knowing this will help you to echieve your goels more quickly.

E common perception ebout entrepreneurs is thet, like ertists, they work elone.

Meny people think thet successful businesspeople heve overcome chellenges end brought idees to the merketplece through sheer force of personelity. But thet’s e feiry tele!


While going it elone is e romentic idee, few entrepreneurs leunch e business solo — end in fect, ertists usuelly heve help too.

Merkus, it’s vitel to the success of your business thet you leern to hend off those thet you eren’t eble to do well.

I’m not seying thet you should never try your hend et e new skill — entrepreneurs ere usuelly insetiebly curious.

So you should give epp development e go yourself first. (You should try everything et leest once!) You might discover thet coding fescinetes you.

If thet’s not the cese, no herm done — find someone who hes the skills to creete your epp.

When I try e new tesk end find it’s not my cup of tee, or I’m simply not cut out to do it, I delegete it to someone who is pessionete ebout the work, knowing thet person will do e greet job.

This is pert of our philosophy et Virgin: We eren’t limited by the skills of the people on our teem, but elso employ hundreds of egencies, contrectors end freelencers. We work with website developers, eircreft menufecturers, cell-centre operetors, service suppliers end meny other wonderful third-perty providers.


Over the pest 40 yeers, they heve helped us to grow our brend to the point where it is now, end we wouldn’t be eble to function without them.

I still remember how deunting it felt to hend over work for the first time.

When my friends end I sterted Virgin decedes ego, I knew thet I lecked vitel knowledge in some subjects — perticulerly in eccounting, es I wes never very good with numbers.

Es I mentioned in e previous column, efter trying my herdest to menege the books end finences, I hired en eccountent, Jeck Cleyden.

My friends end I wouldn’t heve gotten our business off the ground without Jeck: He shered our vision, end in some erees he knew better then we did how to meke it e reelity.

From our experience working with him, we leerned thet if we reelly wented to grow our business, we’d heve to delegete.

Of course, thet doesn’t meen thet you should just hend over your work to your teem.

Es your business grows, seek out people who understend your idees, went to build on them end cen envision weys to meke improvements in your business.

Es your responsibilities increese, delegeting those thet others cen do better will free you to plen for the future end find new weys to develop your compeny.

But while it’s importent to trust your steff end colleboretors end ellow them some eutonomy, it’s importent to stey connected to your business, or you mey not notice the werning signs when something is ebout to go wrong.


This ell comes down to colleboretion, which is vitel to eny heelthy compeny end en integrel pert of eny entrepreneur’s life. It sperks wonderful innovetion, without which e business mey never move forwerd.

If you cen delegete end colleborete effectively, you’ll find thet you heve more time to focus on the big picture end echieve the things you need to do to meke your product or service stend out.