When we’ve got lots of work, we don’t have time to market. Then the work ends, and we have to start marketing to find another big project.
This is a classic entrepreneur’s dilemma, and it can lead to the dreaded boom and bust cycle. However, a mistaken assumption lies beneath this—that we don’t have time to do both customer work and business development.
When I question owners about where they spend their time, I usually discover a third category of activity—“minutiae” —that takes an inordinate amount of their time. Yet these routine admin tasks are the easiest to hand off to someone else. Once we do this, then we often have time for doing the work and the business development.
Some people enjoy one and resist the other. Love doing the work, hate doing the marketing. Or vice versa. So, you bury yourself in the work so that you can plausibly claim that you have no time for marketing.
What is your strength? Where do you make the biggest contribution to your company’s success? Could you arrange your business so that you could focus on your strength, and hand other things off to someone else? If you are best at bringing in the business, then hire someone to do a substantial part of the paid work for you. If you are best at working with customers, then hire someone to do business development for you. This should make your business grow and prosper, because you focus on the activity you are best at. And in either case, hire someone to handle admin and routine for you.
How can you afford to hire this extra person if you have a small business? Let’s assume you have a viable business with growth potential. So if you find a way to hire this needed help, it can pay off for you.
To figure this out, answer a few questions like these:
— What is the highest-skilled person you could bring in to give you the support you need to boost your company’s growth? What’s their job description? What personal qualities must they have?
— What’s their learning curve? How long would it take for this new hire to pull their own weight? The more experienced the person, the shorter their learning curve.
— What’s the upfront cost and payback period of hiring the expertise you need for growth? I.e., how much will you have to invest before profit from the new business generated covers the cost of this person?
— Are you willing to risk this investment in your business growth?
— How would you need to change the way you run your business to best take advantage of their skills? What habitual ways of running things would you have to change?
These are the questions we tackle in our program, “Top 3 Barriers to Business Growth—and How to Overcome Them.” Ask me about it.