Once you start asking some brutal truth questions and facing up to reality, you will realise that a lot of time you spend in your business is wasted opportunity. Too many small business owners spend time on things that earn a low hourly rate for their skill set. It’s a very common problem.
Many entrepreneurs start out alone with little cash, and so they get into the habit of doing everything themselves and trying to cut costs while they do so. This can be okay—and is often necessary—in the very early days of getting the business off the ground, but once you are past that stage, having a Lone Ranger complex will be a massive hindrance to the growth of your business.
Delegation is a wonderful thing. Have a look at what you are doing each day. For each activity you do that is not at your maximum hourly rate, you have four options. I like to make things easy for my clients to remember, so I call these the DOTS Options:
Delegating. I’ll come back to this point often: you need a great team around you. Not good, great. And what’s the point of a great team if you don’t delegate to them?
Outsourcing. You can outsource just about anything these days without too much expense and you can trust that the job will be done right. Some small business owners see this as a cost they can’t afford, but your maximum hourly rate will be more than the hourly rate you pay for outsourcing (and if it’s not, perhaps you need to start an outsourcing business instead!), so you come out in front and you can be spending your time more productively.
Terminating. Sometimes you’ll find that a task can simply be done away with altogether. Plenty of businesses have old habits and systems that they could get rid of but nobody has stopped to look at them closely. Or maybe there’s something you do five times a week that really only needs your attention twice a week.
Systematising/Automating Can you set up processes that reduce or eliminate time spent on a task? For example, can you set up your website so that orders go direct to your suppliers and you don’t have to send products out? Delegating and outsourcing are essential to the growth of your business but these are two areas people often struggle with. Part two will cover several other things business owners can struggle with when they do not delegate their work load.