Successful business owners know the advantages of scaling through delegation and at the same time, preserving the quality of the service experience. Success is not something you achieve “all by yourself”.
Handing over some of the reigns is something most one-man businesses struggle with.
It makes me think of a good friend who launched her own public relations agency just over a year ago.
She told me about having just acquired two influential new clients, on top of how well some of her existing clients were doing, creating a lot more work for her in the process.
But instead of being happy and excited about her successful venture, she was complaining about the additional workload, and quite apprehensive about how it might increase even more in the future.
“How can I duplicate myself?” she asked nervously.
This question of my friend – call her Angie – is quite normal for the new business owner who has their first taste of success.
At some point, the small business owner has to consider hiring help. At this point, it’s natural to experience anxiety and a preference for cloning yourself instead of getting extra help.
As a business grows, the business owner becomes involved in more and more diverse tasks: in addition to being chief of client liaison, you are also:
• Marketing to drum up new business
• Performing numerous admin tasks like a receptionist or secretary
• Paying the bills and balancing the books
• Researching and developing new products or services.
Angie was complaining about having to take on all the admin tasks of a business in addition to doing press releases and planning media campaigns – the things she is really good at – but also about the fact that she could no longer spend the same amount of face-to-face time with individual clients. She was being stretched in all directions.
Ironically, the success and growth that a young company experiences in its first year may also be its downfall. By trying to do everything in the business, the entrepreneur is stretched thin, standards drop, the initial high-quality service suffers, clients feel neglected, and decide to go elsewhere.
It may not happen overnight. In fact, it may take some time as the business owner initially juggles priorities and manages to keep some balls in the air, but slowly the business begins to suffer.
There really is only one answer if a one-person enterprise wants to grow and remain successful, and that is to employ personnel.
But even this can be tricky.
My friend Angie relies on her skills and knowledge of the PR industry to provide a great service. So naturally she wonders who she could possibly employ that would provide the same level of service, make the same informed decisions and maintain the same level of professionalism? Who would care for her business as much as she does?
The truth is that we cannot duplicate ourselves.
But we can systemize what we do, and provide an assistant – an employee or contractor – with an exact set of guidelines on how to act in every given set of circumstances.
Process Street is a powerful way to manage your systems and processes. Having all your systems documentation in one central place allows your new team to get up and running quickly in your business and will save countless hours of training. Using workflow management software such as Process Street means you can easily organise all your business activities and details of how you want them performed.
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The dilemma faced by my friend Angie is, in fact, the norm rather than the exception in successful start-ups and one-person ventures.
A business owner simply cannot do everything in a business, and should systemize and automate the business processes as soon as possible, so that he or she will be able to let the business run itself, even without the owner’s physical presence.
That way, the business owner is freed up to manage the business and improve it, rather than becoming bogged down in the many mundane tasks and activities of an increasingly poorly functioning business.