If you have been in business any length of time, you can probably recall a moment when you sat back, red-eyed, looked at the piles of paper on your desk and 852 messages in your inbox and felt defeated.
Every growth-oriented business owner reaches a natural tipping point where your individual capacity and the needs of your business no longer match.
So like any self-respecting go-getter, you simply work weekends, stretch your daily hours and get by on less sleep.
“Delegation is for corporate fat cats with big staffs, not hungry entrepreneurs,” you say.
While your hunger to bootstrap is very admirable, it will actually kill you in the end. You must learn to leverage opportunities to automate and outsource key parts of your business so you can keep your focus where it should be: growing your market share, innovating, and serving the heck out of your customers.
Which thoughts keep most business owners from doing this?
- No one knows my business like I do
- It will take more time to train someone than to do it myself
- I have limited resources, and don’t want to pay someone to do something I can handle myself
- The process of organizing is lengthy and arduous
These thoughts are most often defense mechanisms that inhibit personal and business growth, rather than true statements. What might be helpful to consider if you think these thoughts is:
- Will doing every activity in my business myself lead to personal happiness and health?
- Are my greatest strengths truly answering emails and wallowing in the weeds of business operations?
- Is this level of activity sustainable?
- What would happen to my company if I got hit by a bus tomorrow?
The key to digging out is to take very small steps so you don’t get overwhelmed. Set aside 30 minutes to examine a small slice of your business, and cut out the excess. Then reward yourself for your good work, and chip away at the next thing.
- Pick the most high-revenue, high-impact or strategic activity in your business.
- Sketch out the basic steps that are required to complete that process
- Take each step and ask three questions:
· What can you cut?
· What can you automate?
· What can you delegate to someone else?
These days, there are so many reasonably priced options for support, like virtual assistants, that lack of money is not a valid excuse. When you remove the fog of “busyness” from your vision, you will be amazed at the new opportunities you see.
As you start to do this, you may find that you get really excited about productivity and organization and may want to study more. Some great, pragmatic books on the subject are:
Upgrade Your Life by Gina Trapani, Beyond Booked Solid by Michael Port, Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Working Less and Making More by Sam Carpenter, and Online Business Manager by Tina Forsyth and the classic Getting Things Done by David Allen.