Running a small to medium sized business means wearing multiple hats. Sometimes a whole milliner’s worth of hats. Accountant, Product Developer, Customer Service Representative–entrepreneurs often find themselves fulfilling these and many other roles, with minimal outside assistance. These DIY opportunities can be exhilarating and empowering. They are, in fact, part of what makes owning and operating your own business fulfilling.
But taking on too much, or executing work that you aren’t cut out for, can be detrimental to your operations–and your mental health! Knowing how and when to delegate a task can keep it from being the beret that breaks the camel’s back.
Take an honest inventory. Then see if some of these methods can reduce time spent in areas that siphon your energy away from your goals, and help you reclaim your focus.
Find a Mentor
Learning through mistakes can be painful. But you can reduce scarring by learning from someone else’s painful mistakes first! Like grandmothers fielding midnight phone calls about colicky babies, mentors can tell you when to get to the hospital or when it’s just a little indigestion. Look for a referral, or find a trusted agency. Entrepreneur magazine suggests SCORE–a non-profit organization that offers free, confidential mentoring.
Share the Load
Decide if there are tasks that you can redistribute within your organization. If you have a hard time letting go, commit to small steps at first. Once you feel more confident about entrusting your to-dos to someone else, ramp up the importance or quantity of tasks.
If you’re flying solo, consider adding some help. It needn’t be a huge investment. Start by offering a part time position through a staffing agency that prescreens candidates and verifies specialized skills, so that you know your needs will be met. There are areas (like Accounting) where this strategy effectively “pays for itself” almost immediately.
Some tasks may not justify a dedicated resource within your company, but still require specialized skills. Many of these fall under the technical or creative umbrella: designing graphics, setting up websites, or issuing press releases. For work like this, consider outsourcing tasks on an as-needed basis. Find freelance writers for hire to tackle your marketing materials, online content, or social media management.
For the most part, freelancers work for reasonable rates. However, if you’re simply too cash-strapped, consider offering internships for class credit or work-for-trade.
Over time, you’ll develop a list of professionals or agencies you trust, and you’ll always know that help is just a click away.
The right strategies and tools can make the difference between your business thriving, or merely surviving. When your time and energy is being consumed by the necessaries that aren’t necessarily your specialty, your work is done a disservice. Much of the time, small and medium sized businesses owners struggle to survive, the weight of the world on their shoulders. Once the load is lessened by sharing responsibilities and seeking guidance, ascension to success is practically inevitable!
Helena L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.