Did I hear you complain that if you want something done right, you must do it yourself? Do you feel like you are a slave to the business? You want more than the nine-to-five grind, don’t you? Then, what do you need to learn to build your business?
Running a business well requires many things.
It requires employees (or contractors) who are invested in you and your business. It requires enough leads to keep your pipeline full. You need sales skills to convert leads into paying clients. The business needs processes to manage it well.
Doing all that you need feels like climbing Mt. Everest without a Sherpa to guide you.
It is a lot of work. But, it is not impossible. With the right tools, knowledge, and implementation you can create the type of business you want to own and operate.
What Are the Challenges You Face?
I have asked people like you what obstacles they face in running a company. Of course, there are a wide range of answers.
Some people aren’t good at dealing with money. Others just don’t know how to delegate (or are afraid to). And, just about every owner I know of has experienced the challenges listed here.
To overcome, you need to learn how to deal with these things and build your business.
How to Transition from Employee to Biz Owner
There’s a world of difference between starting a business and working inside an organization where someone else is responsible.
Small business owners must switch gears as they move from one area of the business to another. Marketing, branding, financial management, etc., all take different sets of skill.
Probably the biggest challenge is realizing that your responsibilities are there around the clock. There is no clocking out after 40 hours a week.
How to Be the Boss
Probably you answered to someone else when you had a job.
Now you’re the boss.
The responsibility for handling everything is yours. Oh joy!
It means you must make a total commitment to the business. And, sometimes, it means you sacrifice your personal life (family and friends). More joy!
Focus on the Big Picture
It’s easy to get lost in the nitty-gritty of running your business. The small details can overcome you. You can lose sight of the real goals, of what is important.
Your ability to create a vision for the future is essential to your well-being. And, you need have one even when daily tasks make it impossible to take your eye off the ball. Your subconscious knows that the vision is there.
Are you doing things you don’t have time to do or you shouldn’t be doing?
It is so easy to get lost in the doing of the small stuff that you lose sight that you are the CEO.
If there are things that you’re doing now because you can’t afford help, start planning to hand them off to someone else A.S.A.P.
When I was starting my first business, I didn’t have much money and I did it all myself. When it became overwhelming, I contacted the local high school. I hired a smart junior for far less than I could pay a pro. She worked out wonderfully until she graduated and went off to college. All I spent were a few dollars a week and a few hours training her to do some of the routine tasks I had on my plate. It freed me to pay attention to the important stuff.
Remember, your job is strategic thinking and planning. Everything else can be made into a system and delegated.
If you suffer from “if you want something done right, do it yourself” syndrome, it will take more effort on your part to let go. But you can do it with help. Get someone to work with you on this issue. You’ll be grateful you did.
You work long hours, often at the expense of your life. This isn’t what you signed up for, is it?
All your time, energy, resources go to keep the lights-on in the business.
There’s nobody to thank you for all your effort. It’s up to you to remain motivated and moving forward. This is probably the hardest of all challenges, the loneliness of running a small business.
Do find support. Join a group that will provide empathy and tough love. Ask a friend to be the shoulder you lean on. Find a coach that will help you move through the valley of entrepreneurial solitude.
Balance Between Business and Everything Else
They say there’s work-life balance out there. It is as elusive as an unicorn. And, most business owners can’t find it.
You started a business to enjoy life. But, the demands of the business keep you from enjoying what you love most.
Know that if you build your business right, it will come. Not when you’re just starting up. Eventually, if you keep focused on what’s important, you will have people in place to help. You will delegate so that you are free.
How to Overcome the Challenges?
Why do some businesses achieve success while others don’t?
Success is determined not by your products or prices. It is defined by the way you run your business. Evidence shows that entrepreneurs who think like CEOs have a better shot at achieving long-term success.
What do you need to learn to build your business? What skill will bring you success?
Well, there are four strategies that you can start implementing right away:
1. Set strategic “critical musts.”
“Critical musts” are the things that must happen over time to bring you closer to your vision.
At the beginning of the work period, CEOs decide what the “critical musts” are. Those things they need to achieve for success. I call these “Outcomes.”
Then they set the projects, and to-do lists that will move the outcomes to fruition. Doing it this way, they keep focus on the important things and reach the outcomes in a profitable and sustainable way.
To do this for yourself, you must:
- Set a work horizon for about 3 months or so.
- Assess what Outcomes you must get done to achieve your vision in that time.
- Create projects and to-dos that are in alignment with the outcome.
- Keep focused only on those things that are the “critical musts.” Ignore everything else.
For example, let’s say one of your critical musts is to increase your visibility. In this case, one of your immediate projects may be to increase your email list by 50 percent. Another may be to guest post twice a week on well-known websites. A third may be to book two public speaking engagements in 3 months.
Your focus must remain within this “critical must” until the outcome becomes real.
2. Allocate Your Resources Well
Successful businesses always allocate their resources in a way that’s profitable.
For you to implement this strategy, assess how you’re currently spending your time and money. Are you allocating resources in alignment with your “critical musts”? Do you have a projected return on investment (ROI)?
Let’s say you’re spending two hours a day scheduling client appointments. I ask you: is that really the best use of your time?
Couldn’t you delegate the calendar management to an assistant, freeing up those two hours for you? Or, couldn’t you use an appointment service? Automating or delegating, you’ll be able to focus on opportunities that relate to your critical musts.
2. Monitor and Measure Progress
Successful businesses measure everything. They measure revenue, sales, marketing, effectiveness, and technology, to name a few.
Constantly looking at results ensures that problems are spotted and corrected. That the CEO can learn what’s working and what’s not.
I urge you to do the same thing. In my Get Business Traction System, I introduce my clients to executing mini cycles that include appraisals of results. Thus, they maximize their productivity.
When you operate in this way, there are no surprises. You always know exactly where you stand and what you need to adjust along the way.
4. Attract and Engage Talent
In Cubicle Nation, tasks are clearly defined. People having needed skills are placed in specific roles to execute those tasks.
For example, when I was the CFO of an insurance company, I didn’t handle research and development. All I was tasked with was to supervising the finances of the company.
The Big Boss knew that one person can’t do justice to a ton of specialized tasks. He staffed the company accordingly.
Many of you take the opposite approach. You hire a single person to handle all the miscellaneous tasks that you don’t want to do. The result is wasted time, money, and energy.
Your assistant may not be the best person to write the company newsletters and manage the website and process payroll. Your job as CEO is to assess the tasks you have and assign them to people who can tackle them quickly and efficiently.
What do you still need to learn to build your business? Need help? Give me a call on 336 three four seven 9300. Or send me an e-mail here.
I want to hear from you!
What lesson are you taking away today? Which strategy will make the biggest impact on you?