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Entrepreneurial Growing Pains

When a new business is launched, it typically creates a buzz surrounding it which is enough to carry you through the first few months. You are excited as the new business owner and ‘helmsman’. Your family are equally excited, your customers enjoy the pace and energy of your new venture and ultimately those in your life are quick to congratulate you on becoming your own boss with a vision.

Ideally, your days are more flexible, more fun and, if you have children, you get to be home with them. At last, you’re living the dream! This is the life! Chances are, you have already done your calculations to establish how many hours a week you need to work to deliver what you were being paid before you took the leap.

However, we begin to get overwhelmed with things like marketing and networking, admin work, finance and accounting, balancing the personal life with increasing workload, and – if you’re lucky – growing pains of having established a successful business.

Essentially, growing pains in any business equate to lack of time and resource. We can sometimes add lack of focus to this (although this is likely to be more to do with the challenge of what to start with first to overcome the growing pains rather than a traditional lack of focus). After all, you’re an entrepreneur and that means getting it done and in situations with a lack of time and resource, it means doing it alone, right? Not always. One of the answers to typical growing pains is to partner or outsource the things that are ‘non-entrepreneurial’ tasks.

Outsourcing or even partnering to get the work done is fine, if the business can afford it. Partnering may be favoured if you can establish a ‘quid pro quo’ scenario but if not, you may need to think again. Since you’re so bogged down with business as usual instead of growing the business, funds may be limited. Key to working through these types of situations is to step back and make a plan.

Imperative is to understand what the actual cost and impact is of neglecting the admin, financial management and back office type work. Whilst it might free you up to focus on marketing and sales, and this itself might lead to increased revenues, it will eventually catch up with you. The plan needs to be clear. Don’t put the work off per se, establish what needs to be done that you don’t want to do and determine who can get the work done for you. A minor clue earlier was the concept of partnering. Find someone else for whom it is their core business to do those things you regard as housekeeping etc. Find a way of working together that benefits both parties.

Establish how much additional client business you need to win to be able to afford to engage additional resource to deal with those activities that sit outside of your personal preferences.

Find others prepared to invest time and effort into your business and plan ways of working together.

Now, how long would it take you to increase revenue by £1,000 per month if you had a day a week to focus on doing just that? Probably not long. Perhaps a month or two? So the next step is to put away £2,000 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 focus returning.

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