Elad Shoushan | Crain's Boston

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Elad Shoushan

Background:  

Ready4 (formerly known as LTG Exam Prep Platform) is a mobile test-prep company based in Boston founded by Elad Shoushan, who previously played professional basketball in Israel. The company's phone-based platform provides resources for people training to take the MCAT, GMAT, SAT and other exams.

The Mistake:

As a basketball player, you learn at some point that you cannot win a game alone, and it's the same with a company. I founded a company myself and in the beginning I did basically everything from starting to coding to marketing to business development, raising money—that's kind of a typical process for a single founder trying to build a business, especially in the beginning when when you don't have any proof point that it's going to work, that it's a viable business model.

So in the beginning I did a lot by myself. And I got to an “aha” moment. It resonated a lot with my previous background in basketball. The team that you have, I call them value multipliers. If you find the right people around you and they are committed, they're really creating a lot of value. You need to learn how to delegate, and you can multiply the value of your creation.

I felt I was constantly working around the clock, 24-7. When I got to that point, I said, "There must be a better way for me to handle my time. I cannot do it all by myself." When all the decisions in the company were escalated back up to you without people being able to effectively make decisions, things pile up while people are waiting for your decisions.

As a basketball player, you learn that you cannot win a game alone, and it's the same with a company.

The Lesson:

You have to make sure that the team that you have in place is able to carry on without involving the boss every time. Find the right people. Define their responsibilities very well, and whenever there is a task that is coming your way, even though it's really hard, just delegate it to the right person.

It's a common feeling that a lot of business owners and founders have, that the job is not going to be done in the way that you can do it. Because it's your baby, you're putting all your life and hours and time into building that, and you want everything to be perfect. When you delegate the task, you always think that you can do a better job. But why is that? Is it because the people are not the right ones for the job, or because you maybe haven't coached them enough?

It was pretty hard for me to delegate, until I started to learn how to coach and communicate upfront. Have a conversation so everyone's engaged in the same process of thinking. Then afterwards, they can go ahead and do it themselves.

Follow Ready4 on Twitter at @Ready4Education.

Photo courtesy of Elad Shoushan.