I asked this question in another section but think it really belongs here as well
One of the most debated topics in growing a small business (at least it seems to me) is the one that says "in order to grow you have to hire, delegate, let go, develop systems and processes, and a whole lot of other stuff."
The other side says "that`s nice but I don`t have the time, the resources, the bandwidth.....I`m too busy running my business and fighting fires".
So my question is do you have any practical solutions to this very real challenge? If you are a growing company what actions have you taken to bring the theory in line with reality?
The reality is if your business wants to grow, you have to hire, delegate, let go and develop systems and processes otherwise in about 3 to 4 years you will become a statistic. You have to determine #1 the value of your time and once you determine what that value is everything that you do in your business on a daily basis that doesn`t equal that $ amount you have to outsource one by one even if it is a break even proposition.
The most valuable resort and asset you have as a small business owner is your time and expertise. If you fill your day to 100% capacity `doing grunge work` guess what you are stuck doing to the end of time...exactly what you are mentioning above putting out fires, trying to manage day to day activities and that is not good if you want to get your business to the next level.
At this point it is irrelevant whether or not you are getting paid a monthly fee or streaming steady business from those accounts, because guess why? At some point you will be at 100% of capacity. And it is only so much money you can make and there are only so many hours in a day. And g forbid something doesn`t run like clockwork or something breaks, you lose a client what have you, then you are working on the defensive not the offensive. The BIG problem in small business today is that too many business owners see themselves exactly like that. Granted it is a given whether or not you are selling a product or a service `you are still ultimately selling` you cannot see yourself as a salesperson. Because if you see yourself as a salesperson this is the next problem you are going to run into...if your clients are used to dealing `with the boss or the owner` they are going to believe they will receive 2nd tier service if you assign them a different rep or new hire and they are always going to want direct access to you and you will still be putting off fires. And for other clients this may be a dealbreaker. Additionally usually when you bring on your first person they are a support person not a salesperson, so now they can relieve you of some day to day stuff but they cannot technically help you bring in new business.
So you ask, how do you make it all work with limited resources and income:
1. Learn to say no to tasks that are not bringing you direct return on the value of your time. It is VERY, VERY hard at first but you have to let go and your fear will soon turn to faith. You have to be confident in yourself and your skill set and know that you can find a way to make money in many more ways than the ones that are already a given. And believe me if you actually had time to think of new ways you can make money in your business, you will think of hundreds of them when you don`t have to worry about everything else.
2. Decide the value of your time and think of things that you love to do and ways you can grow your business, make a list of those things.
3. Think of things that you don`t mind doing (but take a lot of your time) as well as things that you don`t like to do at all, make another list. i.e. building and maintaining a website; producing marketing material; bookkeeping; heck, maybe even marketing
4. Everything you don`t like to do or that take a lot of time to do, consider the ways you can bundle things and outsource! If you want to make money first, think of things you can outsource via advertising: professional flyer/website design are key. Consider low cost advertising such as partnerning with a company or individual that complements what you do/works with your target audience (free) and offer a generous referral fee maybe 25-35% and put their logo on your website for reverse marketing and collect a small commission from them for any leads you send to them (partner with a few of these and they will be your first feet on the street, no salary, no benefits, no vacation..isn`t that something)? A generous referral fee also means this: First they will give you the time of day if you give them a serious commission, second they will send you consistent pre qualified leads, third you are not paying them until you get paid (so it is a low risk proposition) and fourth it is money that you are saving by not having to pay for `direct mail` advertising.
5. Write new business. At the point where you have just a little cash flow to sustain your business, hire a Virtual Assistant. They cost somewhere around $25 hour or more depending on what type of services you need and you don`t have to pay benefits, you don`t have to use them 40 hours a week and they can do EVERYTHING you don`t have time to like help handle your calls while you are on appointments, bookkeeping, billing and invoices.
6. When your company gets big enough and you need a physical office, consider a Virtual Office first where once again you are paying by the hour for use.
Love and Laughter,