If you want something done right, you do not have to do it yourself. The cliché about this is wrong — unless that something is the thing that you do best. This might sound counterintuitive but DIY can be a trap for small business owners who wear too many hats. The only hat they should wear is the one that focuses on the core of their business.
Doing anything else is a waste of time, and time is the most important startup capital small-business owners have. Still, many of them do know how valuable their time is, and it’s worth much more than they realize.
The following three things are easy steps you can take right now to address the No. 1 problem most small-business owners face: time and resource management. These steps apply whether you’re trying to build the next Facebook or just balance your life better so you can spend more time with the people you care about.
1) Realize that “cheap” is not the same as “efficient”: It might be cheap to do something yourself, but unless it’s something you’re an expert at it’s probably not efficient. You have to put a price on an hour of your time to better understand what you should and should not be doing. Otherwise, you’re wasting a lot of it — and that’s something no business can afford. Time is worth much more than money. Luckily, the age we live in offers more opportunities than ever to build a team of experts on a tight budget. Once you have, you’ll be able to focus on what’s most important.
2) Embrace the idea that little is the new large: Things just keep getting better for David while they get worse for Goliath. Today, being small and dexterous is the biggest advantage anyone can have — and many Fortune 500 companies can’t do keep up. Small businesses can compete with bigger competition in ways they never could before. All it takes is adopting the new tools that are available. Do so and you’ll race past your bigger and slower competition and take their market share. Let them be the modern-day equivalent textile weavers in the eighteenth century. The only way to survive is to stay nimble and forward-thinking. Strive to be the first in your niche to automate what used to be costly and tedious.
3) Harness the new value chain: New technology and the old wisdom of the assembly line go quite well together. It allows you to build a team that’s more efficient, cost-effective, and profitable than you may have thought possible. It allows you to build and lead a team that is never doing mindless labor. Once you have the right people in the right place — including yourself — each person will help your business grow more efficient than ever before because they will all be doing work specific to their skill sets, as well as the needs of your business. The promise of the digital age is being realized with affordable human and technological resources just a click away. Now, even the smallest business can afford to hire a receptionist, a bookkeeper, and a personal assistant at pennies on the dollar compared to what it used to cost. Outsource all your small yet important jobs. Never work on your website again. Hire an expert to do it. Never write a brochure again or send a tweet (unless you love tweeting). Sites such as Upwork have thousands of freelancers who can do all of this and more — and they’ll do it better than you can. That’s a blessing, too, because it means you can focus on making your business the best it can be.
Small-business owners rarely fail because of a lack of effort, will, or talent. Far too often, they fail because they fall into the DIY trap. Sometimes all it takes to go to the next level is managing your time and resources better. Take these steps today and you’ll see immediate improvement in your bottom line and your personal life.
About the Author
Justin E. Crawford is the founder of Agents of Efficiency and author of the international bestselling book, Live Free or DIY. Justin has been featured in over 200 major media outlets, writing and speaking regularly on the issues of growth hacking and startup & small business operational process refinement.
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