This experience brings me to the "tips" this week for business owners, or potential business owners-there are two:
- Know when to delegate, and when not to delegate. When you are starting out, there's a lot to do. If you know someone who can double check your business plan, contact them (side note: if you don't, contact your local SCORE office-they will put you in contact with someone who can help you). If you know someone who loves working social media, and you aren't so keen on it, ask if they would be willing to either tutor you in running social media, or if they would be willing to give you a hand, at least until you can get in the swing of it. Remember, you're probably starting on a shoestring budget, so you will be asking for volunteers, not paid employees. This extends to home as well-running a small business eats up a lot of time. If you can spread out home tasks-lawn work, house work, etc-or pay/trade for someone else to do things, that will ease some of the stress of having a lot of eggs in the air (remember what happens when you drop an egg-it isn't pretty). There are some things, though, that you may find can't or shouldn't be delegated-that's fine. Make those your business priority, and work on delegating or automating the rest.
- Secondly, sometimes you have to fire someone. Whether you have employees (go you, starting out with employees) and one or more are not fulfilling their duties, or you have contracted with a person or company to do a task (such as website hosting and management) and they are not meeting your needs or expectations, it is time to consider firing the employee or terminating the contract, even if you like them or are friends with them. When it comes to owning a business, there are hard decisions, and you're the one making them. There's no easy or nice way to put it-sometimes you have to be tough, and sometimes you have to do things that make people upset. For me, this business isn't a hobby, never will be-it is a livelihood. It is a way of providing for my family. It is a way of giving back to my community. It deserves my best efforts to make it the best it can be, and that includes making sure that the people I am paying to do something, do it right.