Many times I talk to new entrepreneurs and even though they are just starting, they are already feeling tired and lacking energy. My advice is always the same: stop, analyse and delegate. If you are starting a business and you can already feel your time and energy diminishing, now it might be a good moment to stop and evaluate what tasks you are doing, and see which ones aren’t core to your business and outsource them.
So you can focus and bring the best to your business
Starting your own business is a tough job and you need to consider getting help from other people to achieve your goals and stay sane. How? With a good team of professionals next to you.
Collaborators are key to your growth, so treat them well and you will get good results
There are obvious activities that we need to outsource: a designer for your logo, a team of designer + developer for your website, etc. But there are some tasks that we tend to take on that might not necessarily need our attention.
Steps to recognise a non-core activity:
- Make a detailed list of the tasks you are doing or planning on doing in the near future.
- Go task by task and ask yourself:
- Am I the only person that can do it? Why?
- How much knowledge and specialty would be lost if I gave this task to somebody else?
- Underline in blue the tasks that only you can do. Example: Outline the business plan
- Underline in red the ones that somebody else could potentially help you with and the tasks you don’t know how to do; having knowledgeable collaborators will save you time and frustrations.
- Of the tasks in blue (the ones you can only do) ask yourself: How many hours will I spend doing it? What direct benefit will be lost if somebody else does it? Correct the colours according to your answers.
This exercise helps you open your mind to the possibility of outsourcing. The result should be a deeper understanding of your tasks and a wider perspective on who should do what.
For example, in the initial phase of creating a business, you need to be hyper-sensitive and have all your radars activated to create a good strong business plan, but there are some tasks that can be outsourced like market research. Ask yourself if part of the research you are doing could be outsourced, if somebody can help you find competitors, list their products, evaluate their websites. Spend some hours doing the research yourself, learn what you need to know and hire somebody to do the hard and time consuming work, while you focus on evaluating the results and modelling your project for success.
This advice goes not for only the tasks that you don’t know how to do but also the ones you know well. Getting somebody to help you will speed up the processes and will help you focus on the important parts of creating a business.
So you can use your resources better: time and money
“Ok, I get it, but my economic resources are limited.” I am not talking about externalising tasks to expensive and well known agencies, at least not at this point. In the virtual world there are a number of places like odesk.com, freelancer.com, elancer.com where you can find capable and experienced professionals for almost any task, from a designer to a personal assistant. With them in your team, the work will be done faster, and the faster you move, the faster you will be near your goal: to get your idea moving forward and making money.
You can find these collaborators in your own country or far from it, depending on what you are looking for and how much you are willing to pay. If your resources are limited, talk to the professionals you would like to work with, even if their rate is too high for you, share your passion for your idea, negotiate lower rates, and people will understand.
Collaborators are key to your growth, so treat them well and you will get good results. A recent study from Clarity concludes that workers are looking for autonomy, mastery and purpose more than money. All of the pages have reviews of work done before. Work only with people with excellent reviews, you have no time or money to play around!
So you can make your business scalable and manageable
We entrepreneurs tend to work as hard as possible and to think that we can do everything and sometimes we end up being the bottleneck to our own growth. Be smart and before you get to this point, get help. A team next to you can help you move faster, your collaborators will have the experience that you are lacking, and will help you reach your dreams.
Contractors are the best way to make your business become scalable. Before launching the business, reach out and get help doing the small tasks so you have free time to manage your project. Once the business is launched, outsource as many activities as you can to successfully grow and to focus on what is key, don’t be the one jeopardising your own business!
Anna worked in the web sector before founding Ricaris have a nice day (www.ricaris.com) in 2009, a successful services company providing distributed solutions for companies in the web sector. Managing Virtual Teams (www.managing-virtual-teams.com) is a new consulting product bringing together all of the experience across the distributed teams of Ricaris, and putting it into bite-sized courses, virtual team activities, and consulting packages. Follow Anna @virtualteams