Empowering your workforce is absolutely a good call. I used to manage a home products dot-com, and as soon as I realized I could give my guys effectively total control, I was able to stop panicking. The biggest thing for me was to give them a "success" formula. Essentially it was a math equation that they could use to figure out if a deal was good or bad. Once they got the math, they rarely came to me with issues and I rarely had to scold them for doing business that was bad for the company.
Empowering employees is a great way to run a business, but on the flipside odds are this guy's operation could be overtaken rather quickly. It takes both time management and growth vision to a lead a company. Sounds like this guy would rather collect checks for a couple years (nothing wrong with that!)
"If you ain't first you're last..." ... "Oh hell, Son, I was high that day. That doesn't make any sense at all, you can be second, third, fourth... hell you can even be fifth."