In a never-ending effort to be efficient and save on overhead, we small business owners convince ourselves that we can do it all. We wear all of the hats: accountant, salesperson, order filler, online marketer, janitor, admin assistant, and the list goes on. We tell ourselves that it’s not going to be like this forever, “it’s only a little while longer and then we can afford to hire someone,” we say. Then time moves on and we still find ourselves deep in the weeds, “but we’re doing everything we can!” With our heads down, we soldier on, waiting for change to happen. But waiting for change is our number one mistake.
This is a crucial time for small business owners to grow their company into a larger, more sustainable business. We must understand and accept our strengths and weaknesses; we have to admit that letting go is the hardest part and employ a support staff, because doing so is a key element of building a successful business.
Make a List
Start by identifying where you most need help. Make a list with two columns and on one side list the tasks you enjoy and want to spend more time on. In the second column, outline the tasks that you dread and typically put off; they are likely the same ones that bog down your business. Then review the columns (sometimes it helps to have someone else review with you) and think about how you can redistribute the tasks. Update the list regularly. Consider the value of your time. For example, imagine not having to reconcile the accounting each month, but instead spending those hours focused on sales – something that you love to do that contributes directly to your company’s bottom line. If you have the time to focus on what you are good at, you will end up making more than enough money to hire someone to take over those tasks that you regularly avoid.
Through this process, you might realize that some of the tasks you’re good at, you don’t actually enjoy. Don’t worry – it’s okay to move them into the second column.
Explore Your Options
Once you have a list, guiding daily decisions and tackling new opportunities won’t seem as stressful or daunting. The list will help you delegate or at the very least think of new ideas and resources for getting the job done.
Also, ask yourself the following:
- Is there a strategic partner who can help for an exchange of services?
- Do you know an expert in the field who you can ask for advice or mentoring support?
- Are you ready to acknowledge that you cannot do it all?
And think about this: do you take everything on because of pride? Whatever it is that drives us, we have to remember that it’s okay not be perfect, to not be able do it all. Having a guide that you review and update regularly will help you stay on track. Consider this list a working document; it will evolve over time. The goal is clarity and insight into your strengths and what you bring to the table. Soon you will only be doing the tasks you love. By identifying what we need and asking for help, we will be more successful … and less crazy!