Your mind is racing. Spreadsheets, meetings with a VC firm, shipping orders, purchase orders, trade shows. Did you do everything on your checklist? It’s 3:00am and you wake up in a panic. The only source of light is the pale blue hue of your computer screen shining back at you. Your phone, fully charged, is always within reach at the side of your bed. This is the life of an entrepreneur. One almost full inbox away from a breakdown but always making sure everything to make their business succeed is at their fingertips.
Canadian success story Lululemon, now a multi-million dollar empire known around the globe, started as a post-yoga class idea and grew because of passion and hard work. Not all companies end up as global brand powerhouses, but most do begin with a spark, a dream and passion.
In the early stages of your business, you are CEO and president. Quickly you add head of sales to your list of responsibilities, and then head of marketing, fulfillment, IT department, photocopy paper jam repairperson and the one who turns out the lights at night. In other words, its a one-person show and the buck will stop with you – for everything. That is ok at first. The problem (and it could be a good problem to have) is knowing when to let go of some of those tasks to stay focused on growing the business.
Consider efficiencies. Even after taking the step to bring someone in you may still feel no one can be as passionate about the business as you. As your business continues to grow, employees can be brought on to fill specific roles you can’t or won’t do. Establishing goals, milestones and the best person for the job will reduce your stress and allow you to focus on more business development-oriented projects.
Don’t Procrastinate. Delegate
As your company grows, consider the costs of lost revenue versus delegation. Many entrepreneurs believe outsourcing is too expensive, but is your time best spent doing the books for your company, or working on social media campaigns, or can skilled workers focus on those tasks while you focus on revenue growth alone?
Be sure to document your brilliant idea with a business plan. Whether you have yet to launch or are in start-up mode, use this business plan template to improve your chance of success.
Growing Pains (But they don’t have to be)
No one person can do everything. If you take on too much you will drop something. At first it might be small but over time your whole business could come crashing down. A good foundation will keep the structure strong. That foundation started with you but you will need to add to it over time.
- Share your vision so that employees can work with you toward a common goal
- Know your limitations and delegate appropriately
- Evaluate the costs of losing revenue opportunity versus hiring skilled workers
- Look for efficiencies and how stepping back can open up more revenue growth opportunities
- Recognize that doing everything will eventually hurt the business you are trying to build.
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