What happens to your business if something happens to you? Are you the driving force and inspiration behind your business? Do your clients have a relationship with you personally or with your business? What would happen if you were no longer there?
No doubt you have shed blood, sweat and tears to build your business to not only benefit you now, but also to benefit your loved ones in the event of a sudden change in your circumstances.
So it’s time to start asking some hard questions and facing up to the reality that you cannot be the “be-all and end-all” in your business.
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Ask yourself: How many hours have you wasted on low value tasks? It’s a very common problem.
Many entrepreneurs start out alone with little cash and so they get into the habit of doing everything themselves and trying to cut costs while they do so. This can be OK – and is often necessary – in the early days of getting the business off the ground, but once you are past that stage, having a Lone Ranger complex will hinder the growth of your business.
Delegating and outsourcing are essential to the growth of your business, but these are two areas people often struggle with. Let’s have a look at some common challenges to outsourcing and delegating.
1. I don’t know what I don’t know
Sometimes we just get so caught up in the day-to-day craziness that we don’t stop to consider other options. Make the time to stop, look and listen; find out what the issues are in your business and how you can address them. You can’t solve a problem that you don’t know about.
This is a common problem for entrepreneurs. They are so used to being experts in their field and doing everything themselves that they are reluctant to hand responsibility to others. If you want something done properly you have to do it yourself, right? Wrong!
The tasks for which you earn your highest hourly rate are best done by you, but let me tell you something: for most other tasks in your business there are people out there who are better at it than you – and that’s fantastic!
Chances are you are not an expert bookkeeper, or warehouse manager, or marketing manager, or customer liaison, but too many small business owners try to wear too many hats and don’t perform any of these tasks as well as they could be done. You need to trust your staff and service-providers. You don’t need to be afraid of outsourcing to Bangladesh or maybe even Russia.
3. Too busy
As a business strategist, this response drives me nuts! The reason you think you are too busy today is that you didn’t stop and make changes yesterday. You must make the time to improve things today; it’s the only way you’ll be less busy tomorrow. Got it?
4. Putting things in a format people can follow
Because small business owners get used to doing everything themselves, they often develop their own unique methods and this becomes an impediment to delegation. But this is an easy problem to overcome – you just need to spend some time developing processes that you can easily pass on. It may take a bit of extra effort now but I guarantee it will save you time in the long run.
5. We can’t afford it
Let me dismiss this one for you here and now – if you want to grow your business you can’t afford not to delegate and outsource. Even if you are outstanding at what you do, if you don’t let go of managing the day-to-day issues in your business you are putting a ceiling on how much you can grow, and that ceiling is how many hours you can work in a week. If you think you can’t afford it, can you afford not to? If you are this close to the edge something has to change.
If any of these challenges are holding you back you have to address them – now. You need clarity about where your best work is done and what is getting in the way of growth. It might be you. The sooner you do this the faster you will build a business that gives you the outcomes you deserve.
Stefan Kazakis is a business strategist, the founder of Business Benchmark Group and the author of From Deadwood to Diamonds (Major Street Publishing, $29.95)