Do You Own Your Business or Does It Own You?

Business Success
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5 Ways to Create Leverage for Your Business

If you’re an entrepreneur, especially if it’s your first venture, you most likely started your business on a tiny shoestring and are likely tobe doing most, if not all of the work yourself. It’s great that you’re prepared to roll-up your sleeves to get the job done but at the end of the day you might find it’s rather a double edged sword.

By far the biggest issue is that spending every working/waking hour, working in your business leaves you very little time to work on your business. And working on your business that makes the difference between having bought yourself a job and owning a business that can ultimately survive without you.

Although you might have started out with a grand plan of how it’s going to be, the reality is often different. We usually start up because we’re great at delivering our services or our products and for a while , it’s great. We’re making some money, doing what we love doing and basking in the ‘freedom’ of not having a boss.

After a little while though, things have slowed down a little (or a lot). Yet, you’re working harder and longer than you did previously. What on earth??!! And that’s often when you might wonder if indeed it’s all worth it – or should you just go back to having a job. Don’t worry, it’s not just you. Almost every small business owner asks themselves that question at some point – especially if your family is relying on you to pay the mortgage, keep the children fed and clothed, etc.

At That Point You Have a Two Choices:

  1. Get a job and go back to being employed. Yes, there are people who’ll employ people who’ve been self-employed. It’s a furphy that you’re unemployable. But still, do you really want to do that? Or.
  2. Go back to the basics to why you set up your business in the first place.

If You’re Just Not into Going Back to Working for Someone Else, You Have Two More Choices:

  1. Take it easier and scale back or
  2. Build a sustainable business which means scaling up

Now you might be thinking, gosh how can you suggest even thinking about option a – scaling back? But it’s a perfectly valid option. You might have other things you want to do in life – study, family, working on the beach in Bali or maybe you’ve just left corporate life – burned out and want to take it easy for a little while, regain your mojo and just work three days a week doing what you’re great at. And that’s okay!

But if you’ve chosen option b and you’ve decided you really want to build a business, you’re probably at a point where you’ll need to start thinking about scaling up. If that sounds too hard, remember you’re probably at a point where continuing on your current path is likely to be unsustainable – so go back to the two options and double check that’s what you want.

Scaling up doesn’t have to be huge, it just means you need to create some leverage.

You can create leverage in your business by hiring staff, outsourcing, changing business models to include more automation, building partnerships where other people find you business, do the work or both for a percentage of the revenue or vice versa.

Before you dismiss any or all of the above, sit down somewhere quiet and run through possibly scenarios to see how each of those listed (and any others you might think of) fit with your vision for your business. It works best if you put it on paper. Think about who you might work with or partner up with. What would that look like? How much of that would you need to do to make some more time in your day/week/month? Add numbers to that. you’ll be surprised what is suddenly more cost effective to have handled by someone else whilst you make hay or create your goods/services.

5 Ways to Create Leverage And/or Free Up Your Time:

  • If you’re not an accountant or bookkeeper – are you best served doing your own books? Do you know someone who lives to make people’s books be balanced and orderly?
  • If organisation is not your strong point – hire someone or outsource the looking after of your admin. Ensure it’s done by someone who gets excited by filing and organising (yes – there really are people like this out there – SOI’s admin assistants love it).
  • If answering your phone distracts you from what’s really important, have it done by someone else (again, hire or outsource). That way, your clients still feel looked after and you can get back to them when you’ve got a moment.
  • If you’re not a strong sales person, find someone who loves to sell and loves the thrill of the chase. Pay them a decent finder’s fee for each piece of business they find – after all they’ve just brought you potential revenue on a plate.
  • If there’s a way for you to offer your goods and services via the internet in a way that’s both  meaningful and cost effective for both you and your customers – do it. Whilst there might be initial time pain (just as there would be hiring a new staff member), once it’s up and running, it will facilitate new revenue streams.

Whatever else you do this week, find a way to eek out an hour to think through your options and put one or more into action asap. Nothing is ever set in stone and if you don’t like it after a couple of weeks or months, try tweaking it or something different altogether. When all is said and done, you’ll be glad you did.

If we can help free up your time through outsourcing your admin, planning meetings or answering your phone, please give us a call on 9994 8000.

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Article by Michelle

August 21, 2012