Solving Your Small Business Growing Pains
When a solopreneur launches his business, it's typically from a perspective of trading time for dollars. Now you've got a job, but you're your own boss. Ideally, your days are more flexible and, if you have children, you get to be home with them. Wow! This is the life! If you work 'x' hours per week you will be able to match your corporate paycheck!
Soon we find out that a few things have influenced that equation. We begin to get overwhelmed with things like marketing and networking, administrative work, accounting, balancing the personal life with work, and – if you're lucky – growing pains.
Basically growing pains in a small business equate to lack of time and resources. After all, 'solo' means doing it alone, right? Not always. One of the answers to typical growing pains is to outsource the things that are non-entrepreneurial tasks. Michael Gerber, author of the popular business book, The e-myth, describes this work as the 'technician's' work. The technician's work includes the list above as well as the work you may be doing yourself if you are a web designer, graphic artist, or any type of service provider.
But how do you afford it? Since you're so bogged down with day-to-day work instead of growing the business, funds are limited. Here's one of the formula's I use:
1) Make a list of resources for increasing revenue: new clients, a new market, upselling or increasing business from current clients, etc.
2) Calculate how much revenue you could bring in and the length of time it would take to increase profits if you had 10-20 hours per week to do nothing but marketing and sales.
3) Make a list of your most time-consuming tasks and separate them into administrative, book keeping, and technician's work. You may add other categories as appropriate. How many hours per week do you spend on these tasks?
4) Determine an hourly wage for outsourcing the most time consuming tasks. In most cases, there is enough admin work to take off of the solopreneur's plate to save them 15-20 hours per week. For the example we're working with here, let's say you could hire a virtual assistant or an offices assistant for $15 per hour. That's $300 a week for 20 hours, or $1200 per month.
Now, how long would it take you to increase revenue by $1200 per month if you had 20 hours a week to focus on doing just that? Probably not long. Most of my clients will tell me it would take 2 months or so. So the next step is to put away $2400 to secure 2 month's salary for your new administrative assistant. This may take some time, but be diligent about it. You can do it! Within 4 months of hiring your assistant (or appropriate contractor) you will see your profits growing and your sanity returning.
This is just one solution, but you get the picture. For other ways to increase your productivity, download my free audio and workbook on Increasing Your Productivity by 40% at www.MarlaTabaka.com.
Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.