Being a small business owner is hard. We balance personal life, work, and everything inbetween just trying to make it through the day. Because of this, it’s easy to take shortcuts or let things slide. Here are a few ideas on what to steer clear of or at least know what you’re getting into so you know how to handle it:
Don’t Hire a Family Member or Friend
This can be tricky. There are times that this works out well, however, keep in mind that you will need to be prepared to give correction, be professional much of the time, meet deadlines, and be careful with money. If you do hire someone close to you, make sure that you talk about the professional requirements of the job and how you are counting on them. If they don’t work out, be honest. Make sure they also happen to be the best person for the job.
Don’t Allow Business to Change Your Personal Calendar
Many times, people quit a taxing 9-5+ job to start a small business so they can spend more time with their family. It’s hard when trying to “make it” in the beginning, and when you “have arrived” and things are really busy. Just remember, you switched vocations so that you could spend time where you wanted. Even if that takes a little less money here or there, those kid performances are important. Make your schedule at the beginning of the week and try to stick to it.
Don’t Do Everything Yourself
You’ve heard the phrase, “the devil is in the details” right? Well, when owning a small business, it can actually be bad to care about so many little details. Hire a good team, then delegate, and TRUST them. They might not do things the way you would, but why would they? They can bring something better than another robot version of yourself…variety, cross-functional thinking, and most importantly, TIME 🙂 Don’t discount the importance of this when you get to pay day.
Don’t Be Late to Everything
here are so many tasks, projects, people to follow up with, customer requests to get to. Even if a conversation seems to be going somewhere successful, make sure to let a prospective buyer/client know what time you need to be done, and stick to it. Professionalism counts, even for small business owners. By excusing yourself to head to another meeting or a child’s soccer game, the buyer will know your time is precious and take you more seriously than if you hung out with them all day listening to what they have to say.
Don’t Assume That Spending Money on the Business Should Always be Done Cheaply
This goes for marketing materials, trainings, software, employees, etc. Careful planning and organization is important, but many of these items should be viewed as an investment toward the future. I’m only talking to the Frugal Freddie’s here. Spending frivolously is a different topic. It’s not a good idea to hold out on marketing for an upcoming conference, or withhold training for employees, or put off a simple low-cost piece of technology until you have more customers or make a certain amount. It is smart to spend even when you don’t have much, as long as it is done in a strategic way. Most importantly, don’t skimp on paying good help what they are worth. A special gift to collaborators can go a long way as well.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Don’t feel like you have to implement all of your ideas right away. Even a “slam dunk” plan might not have the best timing. Think about what you have already created and how you can use it to implement a version of the plan. If the timing isn’t right, don’t throw the plan away. Make a folder on your computer or project management software for “Backlog” or “Ideas.” Revisit that folder at quarterly and annual review time. You’ll be amazed at how many great ideas can be patched together from plans you’ve almost implemented in the past.
Don’t Act as if Sleep & Exercise is for Wusses
You know we all do this. We stay up late to get everything done that hasn’t been done for years, and then get disappointed when we can’t finish, have no energy during the team meeting the next day, and forget to tell employees how important hair nets are. Work will always be there. Sleep and exercise is how we get through the day without sluggishness, depression, etc. Also, we end up becoming more dependant on coffee, sugar, junk food because we don’t have the energy to get through the day without it.
You are doing great. Many times we think we aren’t making a difference or selling enough, etc. Take a look at all the good that has come because of opening your doors. Thanks for all the hard work you do to build the small business community in a STRONG way!