The most-repeated comment I hear from new business start ups “There are so many things to do!”. And it is so true – standing back and taking an objective look, the list is daunting:
Ø On Your Marks! – research market, do feasibility forecasts (am I likely to make money?), identify market, make business plan, identify how much capital is required and raise it (as cheaply as possible!),
Ø Get Set! – decide branding and get design work done, website creation, create marketing materials, identify suppliers, negotiate terms, open bank account, prepare detailed marketing plan, contact advertisers, financial budgets
Ø GO! – Sell, network, advertise, build brand awareness, keep on top of accounting and VAT, reforecasts……
STOP NOW! This list is endless and overwhelming. And it is dangerous. Why? Because if our expectations of ourselves are that by becoming a business owner we also become, apparently over-night, a marketeer cum salesperson cum financial controller cum graphic-designer cum copy writer, then we set ourselves up to fail.
Be realistic – you are the ring-master, not the whole show
It is your job to run the business which means your days will be spent in a combination of generating sales, marketing your business and supplying the product/service. (The time dedicated to each of these activities will depend on the nature of your specific business and how much you can delegate to someone else.)
You cannot and should not try to do everything. Your focus must always be on business-building. If you spend a day doing book-keeping, who is making sales? (Your competitors, that’s who.)
So the advice is – organise yourself, delegate and outsource
Go ahead and make that “To Do” list, then work your way through it, delegating tasks where possible. Be realistic. Outsource recurring tasks that would divert your focus if you were to take them on (book-keeping is a good example). If you need an expert for a task (e.g. marketing logo design), ask friends for recommendations and hire one.
Outsourcing is a facility that makes expertise available to you as and when you require it. Invest in another person’s expertise and experience and save yourself the learning curve that means wasted time and money. Remember, while the outsourced expert completes a task far more quickly, accurately and completely than you could, you are out generating the long-term sales contacts that your business relies on, and which will ultimately more than pay for the cost of your outsourcing.
So many things to do? There certainly are. But not all by you.
Author: Dara McGovern from JumpStart for Business. Dara is an experienced chartered accountant and ex-Finance Director of a large multi-national. She now runs her own Business Finance consultancy, DM Solutions, around her busy family life. DM Solutions is part of the JumpStart4Business strategic alliance which came into being to support business start-ups, providing easy access for new business owners to a range of relevant expertise and experience. firstname.lastname@example.org
JumpStart4Business runs regular, informative workshops, supporting and encouraging new entrepreneurs, see www.jumpstart4business.com for news on the next event