Running a business can get complicated. It is easy for entrepreneurs and small business owners to get caught up in the details of managing a business, which can lead to burnout. Entrepreneurs are typically driven with the passion of their trade and get into business to make a living through that passion. I commonly hear from small business owners that managing the business overtakes their time and the reasons they started their business in the first place dissipates.
To be frank, if you are an expert in your trade, and you are motivated by your trade, do not try to become an expert in business as well. Straying away from your passion will only lead you to resent your work. In fact, your expertise is the initial competitive advantage of your business. For example, if you’re passionate about developing applications for virtual reality, that should be your primary focus every day, so code your way through the day! I started consulting for small businesses, primarily in the technology sector, because my passion lies in marketing, sales, and business management. My passion is basis to the consultancy’s business.
Do Not Over Analyze: Build Over Time
The daily motions and details of running a business will come over time. And the first order of business should be selling your product or service –otherwise nothing else matters. When revenues and profits rise, things become more complex, which is when it makes sense to bring in team members that have other areas of expertise, like business operations, accounting, and finance.
However, before you get to the point of sustained revenue growth, you may not have the funds to afford experts. So how can you run your business before you are at a point where you must hire people to run the business for you, while you continue to build on competitive advantages?
Do not skimp on business tools.
Process automation and organization is key. Do not rely purely on Excel to manage your books and create invoices, then cross-reference the business bank account. QuickBooks Essentials for small businesses is only $40 a month. Also, don’t manage your customers out of email –you will eventually drop the ball with clients. SalesforceIQ CRM Starter costs $25 per month. These applications also include useful reporting tools, helping you make decisions. Lastly, subscribe to business-class email through Google or Microsoft’s Office 365. Both Microsoft and Google build in APIs to tools like QuickBooks and Salesforce. (And this will help you keep your business and personal life separate.)
Business tools also allow you to scale. When the company grows and you hire business managers, you’ll already have your business on industry standards. A business-savvy team member can pick up where you left off, and they do not have to figure out how to get the business activities organized before moving forward. In addition, these business tools force you to establish repeatable processes, ultimately freeing up time to innovate.
Hire contractors & consultants when you’re constrained.
Sure, this is a plug for consultancies. Remember that consultancies have worked with several clients and have more perspective. Think about it this way: you’re the player on the field and the consultant is the coach. It may not be the right time to invest in full time employees, so bring someone on to do the job that needs to be done to help the company grow. If sales are at a plateau, don’t stop your innovation on your product or service to become a marketing and sales expert. Bring on a contractor that has expertise in marketing and sales, who can help you create a sales strategy, and then automate the execution of the plan. Or what about cost controls? Revenue may be growing, but net profit is flat. Someone with expertise in business operations can help you identify inefficiencies and teach you how to manage them without taking away from your time –and without the cost of a full time employee.
Do what you’re good at doing. It is okay to ask for help. If you need some insight into your business, let us know.