You don’t have to do it all

There aren’t a lot of characteristics that I share with entrepreneurs. I don’t believe anyone has ever said that I am a risk-taker or that I have an innate skill for managing money. But there is one strong entrepreneurial trait I do have. Unfortunately, I have the absolute inability to ask for help.

Case in point: I had been working on an online business plan-writing program for several months. It varied between being a struggle to an almost insurmountable task. And because of the difficulty, what should have been an exciting new venture turned into drudgery and something I tried to avoid at all costs.

But everything changed this last week. I finally reached out to some people who actually knew how to put this program together and could help me. I’ve been able to do more in this last week than I have done in the past six months. Now, this resource has always been there. I just didn’t want to acknowledge that I couldn’t do it on my own.

I think a lot of small business owners and new entrepreneurs think the same way. They insist that they can do it all and should be able to do it all. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Successful business owners know to concentrate on their own core competencies and look to outsource those things that they either don’t do well or don’t like to do. By focusing on where their skills lie, they are able to work more efficiently and effectively. For example, an easy outsourcing decision for most owners is accounting. Accounting is a specialized field and tax law changes can be tricky.

But there are other areas that can be outsourced, freeing up time and talent that can be focused on products and services. Things like payroll, marketing, public relations, and really any service for which you as the business owner would pay can be outsourced.

There is one note of caution. If you are choosing to outsource some of your business activities, you will want to make sure that there are no challenges with customer or employee satisfaction. You don’t want to sacrifice effectiveness for efficiency.

Perhaps you have chosen to outsource your support for products and services to a call bank. These could be a great strategy, allowing you to serve your customers without taking on the burden of hiring staff and the human resource implications.

If you go down this path, you must make sure that the customer service being handled by the call bank is at the level reflected in your own business and that the customer doesn’t really see the difference.

As a business owner or entrepreneur, you have a slew of wonderful traits that I wished I shared. Independence can be a double-edged sword. It helps you get things done, but can slow you up tremendously if you are only ever going to rely on yourself. Believe me, I know!

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