Before you develop your business plan, before you let your small business dream take shape, before you build strategies to grow and profit, think about all the things you do not want to do.
Too many small business owners find themselves wearing too many hats, so many they find too soon that they cannot juggle them all. They find themselves too soon torn in too many directions and, in doing so, let things implode.
You can run a successful business without all the organizational trappings of a big business. Plan on staying a small organization by letting others take on the tasks you need not do and do not do well.
Software, hardware, and peripherals need maintenance and repair. Websites need design, updating, and maintenance. You cannot do it well and do not have the time for it. Shop for an IT consultant who gives you what you want at the price you want.
Bookkeeping is not just a matter or first-in first-out. Managing cash flow is an art. Accounts payable and receivables, banking, payroll and taxes require special knowledge and experience. Find a virtual bookkeeper or office administrator whom you can trust and enjoy real-time access.
Set things up early so you are not the first line of defense. You may want to own your customers, but you need to delegate at least the first level of contact. Outsource customer service, reception, and 24/7 attention to virtual respondents.
If your small business feeds on and grows with social media, no single person can handle all the tasks involved. You can articulate the big picture message, but tweeting, blogging, posting, copy writing, editing, and launching content driven marketing materials demands more heads and hands. You can find trusted structured assistance online.
Too many employees are as burdensome as too few. Both extremes affect productivity, profit, and growth. It varies with the nature of the business, but you really ought to consider outsourcing or sub-contracting the production labor.
Human Resources is a managerial function you do not need until well into your business growth. Still, you are responsible for personnel records, payroll, and taxation. An HRIS software system will assure integrity and compliance. As long as you have a half decent office culture underway, you can outsource the HR functions. Consider the value of joining a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) with whom you can co-employ your staff and let them takes responsibility for all the traditional HR functions.
In the months and year before you open your business door, do not visualize yours as a big business. If it gets there, it gets there. But, your life-work balance may be the make or break performance element.
Put yourself at the center of a circle of performance rather than the top of an organizational pyramid. If the cost of outsourcing is intimidating, go back to the drawing board because you should be planning the cash flow that will release you to develop your core strengths and added values.
Carolyn Sokol is the Founder and President of PEOCompare as well as Business Development Director to CompareHRIS, both of which help match businesses to the right HRIS or outsourced HR provider for their particular needs. Connect with them on twitter @PEOcompare.