I am a slave to my clients. How do I focus on growth?

Dear Aunty B,

I am a young entrepreneur. My business is two years old and in recruiting.

My problem is I am spending 80% of my time selling and servicing clients. I don’t have faith that my sales manager can do it and I am very frustrated spending so much time doing little things and not focused on growth.

How do I get out of this situation?


Deb S (slave to my clients),



Dear Deb,

How do you get out of it? You don’t. You are still a start-up and young. You must spend some time with your clients no matter what the gurus say. In fact even when you have a larger business, you must spend some time with clients. Why?

You are the face – and it is one of the things that differentiates you from a large faceless company. You can hear how your company is performing. And you can pick up ideas for new businesses from the problems of your clients. As you started the business in the first place, you are the ones with the special problem solving skills that can identify new opportunities when other people might just hear the problems.


Having said that, you are correct: 80% is far too high. Ideally it should be around 20% and then 5% when you are overseeing a much larger business.


It sounds to me like you have to find a new sales manager in whom you do have faith. Remember that the success of your company depends on the key management team you are developing.

Make the break now. The sales manager who might have been right for the inception of your company is not right for the future development of the company.

Once you get the right sales manager on the bus, restructure your team so that the new sales manager has more back-up and then incentivise the team.


Write down all the sales functions you are doing and see which ones can be handed over. Then begin to do so!

And don’t think it will all fall down around your ears. I was talking to a young entrepreneur the other day who had to go away suddenly for three months. She was sure the whole enterprise would collapse. When she returned the business had grown and people were ringing and asking to speak to her sales staff – not her.

Get on with it.

Your Aunty B.

 Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

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