After years of working for big companies, I took the plunge to start my own business. I learned early on that it takes time and patience to build a business. What I’ve also learned is that being a small business owner is a juggling act. I’m the CFO, CEO, the sales team, head of personnel, and of customer service. Just when I think I can’t do any more, I pull it off. We were recently short staffed which just added to the complexity of the situation. But somehow, we were able to continue to deliver work on time at the level of quality that our customers expect.
Honestly, undertaking multiple roles is not only gratifying but has improved my skill sets. I use several tactics to manage all these roles.
Prioritize. Decide which tasks and obligations are most important or pressing and lay out a plan to manage them. If you can’t complete all of them, prioritize those that will have the biggest positive impact on your business.
Use resources at your disposal. There are certain things that cannot be delegated to others. For me this includes interviewing job candidates, and training new employees. But there are plenty of things I can delegate or outsource. Don’t underestimate what your employees know about your business and what they can contribute. Look for external “partners” that you can call upon to share the burden.
Automate. As small business owners, we have so many things to do that we often spend all our time in the day-to-day running of our business instead of actually growing it. Automate as much as you can to free up your time. Leverage technology and use small business management tools that automate work-flow as much as possible.
Stick to processes. Documenting procedures makes it possible to keep things running smoothly even when someone is no longer with the company. With the right processes in place, anyone with the right skills can be tapped to step in to help.
Leverage your budget. Budgets act as a guide to help your business grow. It also lets you know how much you need to sell in order to cover overheads and meet your goals. Budgets are also a great tool to help you set priorities.
In the end, being a small business owner is a juggling act. The trick about juggling – both feet are always firmly planted on the ground.