Sometimes I ask the hard questions or make the hard points. This is one of those times.
|Photo by my friend Gloria Bell.|
If your business is not making it, then it is time to change something.
Let me share a couple of examples.
But I Can’t Afford To! Part 1
When I suggested small business people delegate some tasks, one response I got was:
Delegate to whom? Most of the small business owners and farmers I know are owner operators and hire folks on an as needed basis. We have no full or even part time labor other than ourselves.
If you can, grow that business. Then let it hire, either on payroll or on contract as appropriate. You may have to change your thinking. If you have an “I’ll do it all myself” attitude, you better change it.
Certainly, there are ways to get by for a while. Here are 10 ways to delegate without hiring, for example. But that doesn’t mean you keep limping along forever. If you can’t grow the business up to the point it can pay for its own help, then that business is a candidate to abandon.
But I Can’t Afford To! Part 2
In another conversation, I talked about how freelancers could draw the line between what to give away and what to charge for. The discussion veered off with this comment:
How about entrepreneuers that can’t afford to pay someone?
If you really can’t afford to pay anyone, you need to fix your business, and fast. I realize that every entrepreneur has to be frugal, and we all go through rough patches. However, we hold on to a “can’t afford to” mindset much longer than we should. We end up spending our $100 per hour time doing $25 per hour work.
Sounds harsh, I know. Sometimes reality is harsh.
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Awesome post Becky! It’s definitely hard to sometimes take a step back in the flurry of daily decisions and analyze wasteful opportunity costs. I frequently post at The Dotted Line (http://www.facebook.com/TDLine), which is an online community for entrepreneurs and I think that you should drum up this conversation with that community. Like you said, these are sometimes harsh realizations, but much needed. Again, great post. Thanks for sharing! –Jerry
Becky McCray says
Thanks, Jerry. It amazes me how many small communities for entrepreneurs have sprung up over the years.
Jerry Rizzo says
Agreed Becky! These communities offer loads of expert advice, stimulating conversations and ample networking opportunities. I think every entrepreneur should find the right online community and engage frequently and monitor trends. I hope you found The Dotted Line (http://www.facebook.com/TDLine). Definitely feel free to post your insight and advice there. Thanks Becky and make it a great weekend!
Becky McCray says
Thanks again, Jerry.
B. Ligerent says
“We end up spending our $100 per hour time doing $25 per hour work.” Very true!
This is also something to keep in mind by managers (whether owner-operators or employees). Don’t waste your time doing jobs just because you can do it better or quicker than your staff. They need to grow so they will be valuable employees for you as time goes on. At first you might spend more time directing, evaluating, correcting their work than it would take for you to just do it by yourself. But that initial investment of time should pay off in the long run.
I also think that sometimes it’s helpful for owner-operators to perform a task on their own for a while before outsourcing. This way you can learn the ropes of that task so that you’re well-informed when farming the way out to someone else. It helps you to manage the task later, to not be taken for a ride by freelancers, to better understand what needs to be done or what is being done.
Becky McCray says
Thanks, B. Appreciate your insights.
Emily Chase Smith says
I love this article. All businesses, small town business, online businesses, fun ones and professional ones, sink and swim with their financial health. If you can’t afford to hire someone to do a key piece of your offering, does that mean you’re doing it without compensation? If you hired someone, what could you do with that time, energy and creativity as CEO that would move the business in a strong, exciting direction? Many tasks can be performed by lots of different people, but you’re uniquely situated to be the leader of your business.
Becky McCray says
Emily, I love this question you asked:
If you can’t afford to hire someone to do a key piece of your offering, does that mean you’re doing it without compensation?
Ouch! That’s a hard question to answer!