One of the toughest decisions when running a small business is determining when it’s time to get an extra set of hands.
Sure, sole proprietorships require an almost fanatical focus on managing costs to help boost profits, and you might wince at the idea of spending any money at all elsewhere. Even so, there still comes a point when trying to do it all yourself can actually be counterproductive to your revenue goals.
Here are some ways to help you determine if you’re trying to do too much yourself or, more important, if you’re doing the wrong things with your precious time. Both situations can keep you from higher profits and self-employment life satisfaction, and that might show that it’s time you hire help.
Home is where the help is
If running your business is running you ragged, you might be in need of some extra hands. It’s not uncommon for those who work out of their homes as a cost-saving measure to become overwhelmed in their efforts.
Oftentimes, the help you need might not pertain to running your actual business but, rather, to everything that is keeping you from doing so.
If you’re constantly reminded of the domestic duties that need attention (house cleaning, property maintenance, laundry, meal prep), then you’re losing precious focus that could be going to your business.
A start to finding help could begin here: by hiring a housecleaner, a yard maintenance service, or even a handyman. These are good choices for easing yourself into handing off work to others that can often be achieved in as little time as just once a week—and that’s pretty easy on expenses, too.
Offload your business busy-ness
If your mundane distractions are already taken care of but you’re still not achieving your business goals, you might need additional help. Consider these areas where you might benefit from bringing someone on to ease your load:
- Order invoicing
- Packing and shipping
- Email monitoring and response
- Data entry and product listing management
- Office supply maintenance
- Managing customer lists
You get the idea. These are just a few of the items you could potentially hand off to an assistant while setting your own focus on developing new products, marketing plans, professional networking, and everything else that will take your business to the next level.
Day-to-day tasks are critical to keep a business running, but when it comes to growing the business, you need to focus on the strategic matters while leaving the tactical activities to someone else. That’s where you’ll be most valuable!
Delegation is a beautiful thing
Delegation is crucial for those who truly want to expand their business, but learning to hand off tasks and responsibilities is still sometimes the most difficult challenge to overcome. After all, in most cases, small business owners started with a unique vision, developed their own plan, and have addressed any issues that have arisen along the way all by themselves. Overall, achieving their goals for business success has always been a deeply personal task!
Letting someone else take over even the tiniest of responsibilities can leave a business owner feeling anxious and vulnerable—they may even feel a strong instinct to outright refuse! However, since learning how to delegate tasks is a necessary first step for any business owner who wants their small business to grow, why is it that small-business owners are reticent to delegate? Usually, it boils down to three issues:
- The cost: Cost is usually the top reason cited for not bringing on help, as any employees will, obviously, need to be paid. While it has already been acknowledged that hiring can actually help reduce costs in many cases, you’ll need to honestly weigh whether doing certain tasks is what is keeping you from realizing greater profits.
Much like your money, you need to spend your time wisely in order to reap the greatest benefit. You might excel in your profit potential in ways you never thought possible if you can leave certain tasks to others.
- The loss of control: Some argue this is the top reason for not delegating, and it’s a compelling case. If you feel no one can tend to all aspects in and around your business better than you, then you are actually the greatest limiter to your business’ growth.
You’ll simply need to identify the time-takers in your daily work and make the decision to find and train someone else to do them for you.
- The time it takes to explain: Many lament that by the time they train someone else, they could have completed the task themselves.
While that may be true today, you need to focus on freeing up your tomorrows. (If you teach a man to fish…) The time you take to train someone to take duties off your hand is an investment in your ability to spend more of your time working to grow your business. That’s a good investment, every time.
Most business owners will agree that delegation is difficult—at first. Yet many who have done it will sing the praises of the freedom it brings once they embraced the idea.
Bringing on help can open new avenues for developing new business ideas, finding new customers to serve, and expanding the business to reach its original goals and beyond but which might have become obscured through all the busywork. It’s all too much for one person to manage and, when a businessperson wisely chooses to employ some extra hands (and minds), the potential for that business can grow, sometimes exponentially.
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