Most small to medium businesses are constantly coming up with great new ideas and plans or getting recommendations from friends, family, business events and more. What many people find is there isn’t a shortage of ideas on how to improve a business, it is more about “where to start”.
Three main areas that most people find themselves in are;
- Time poor
- Knowledge or skills gaps
- Lacking the tools or process
Why are you time poor? Do you often find yourself setting aside time to work on the business and three hours later you haven’t made much of any progress? Interruptions and other distractions seem to find their way into these allocated times and often the jobs do not get finished.
Many new plans, ideas or projects require some additional education on your part, this also takes time, whether in work hours or in your personal time. Without the regular implementation of these newly learned skills, you might be finding yourself working on a project and discover you just can’t remember how to boost that social media post or add that new user.
Finally, an important element to consider, what is the value of your time. Many business owners, especially those that are delivering a professional service can earn much more in an hour or two than it would cost to outsource certain projects or tasks. The risk of maintaining control of everything that occurs in a business creates a bottle neck that slows everything down, meaning those great ideas, plans, and projects take a long time to progress.
Knowledge or skills gaps
Having attended University myself, completing a Bachelor of Commerce, the knowledge and skills required to run a business, especially a small business (where you have to wear many hats), are missing. You might have the theoretical knowledge of some areas, however, there are so many additional elements that you just don’t know. For service professionals outside of the business world, e.g. Tradies, Health Professionals (Doctors, Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Vets etc), Lawyers etc, most education institutions do not even prepare you for running a business.
The next challenge is even if you did learn some of the key elements in running a business, the world is rapidly changing and how you engage and communicate with your customers, suppliers and even staff is quickly evolving. Demands to communicate more quickly, with self-service portals, online access and a general reluctance for direct communication, keeping up with the skills and know how to market and grow a business is becoming increasingly hard.
Lacking the tools or process
Every day we are bombarded with all the latest tools for running a business, Salesforce, Office 365, Xero, Google Adwords and then all the methodologies and processes like inbound marketing and project management. Great, but to use them requires education, training, financial investment and then you find out that actually all of these are great but you still need to create the content. The dialog, artwork (photos, images) and data entry are some elements.
The investment in technology to support a business can be significant and many of the solutions are only used sporadically and therefore expensive.
The way forward
So where to from here? We now know more of the challenges, how can you start making progress on those amazing ideas, plans, and projects? Let’s look at three strategies;
- Outside Help
Identifying the processes that exist in your business and capturing them can make a big difference. Even if you have the skills, knowledge, and technology to do the job when the business becomes reliant on you, capturing that process enables others removing the bottle neck.
This also supports refining and improving the process, reducing your direct input when onboarding new team members, ensuring your business performs in a productive and consistent manner.
According to the well respected McKinsey & Company’s article, organisations can benefit significantly by flattening the knowledge hierarchy. This supports enabling your team to do more through education.
With a raft of online training portals including lynda.com, it has never been easier to enable your team to improve their skills and knowledge. Examples might be using excel, writing a blog post, how to market on Facebook.
Some knowledge is best delivered on an individual basis and requires an understanding of key performance indicators, analytics or other business specific content.
Any opportunity to capture training for reuse and reference should be taken as it saves time, enables employee growth and ultimate will allow your team to do more.
With any business managing expense is critical and so it is natural to assume that getting assistance externally is more expensive than doing it yourself. Reflecting on some of the key elements earlier in this post, your time is valuable, very valuable. If you compare the potential revenue you could achieve per hour against the hourly cost of outside alternatives, more often than not you will be much better off getting the help.
On that note, there are many different types of external resources that can support your business. For example, marketing related activities, you can reference online resources like Fiverr, who can provide content at very competitive rates. Be aware, that you will need to factor the cost of your time and effort in communicating the brief, reviewing the results and implementing the content with these types of services. So what looks like a cheap $15 alternative may, in fact, cost you hundreds of dollars of your time.
What Barroze can help with?
Our goal is to help your business implement your ideas, plans, goals and projects by enabling your team with the necessary skills, providing strategy, structure and support and creating content to empower you and your organisation.
If you would like to have a chat, obligation free, contact us today via email or call 0467 800 852.