This is a Guest Post by Chandra Clark
Stop me if this sounds familiar: You walk into a business or click through to one online, and pretty much immediately notice half a dozen things the proprietor could, and maybe should, be doing better. Ah, objectivity. It’s easy to see what other people are doing wrong. The question is, can you be as critical of your own operations? It’s a skill you need to practice.
Women entrepreneurs in particular seem to suffer from something I call “I have to do it all myself” syndrome. Perhaps it’s because a lot of us are perfectionists, or perhaps we feel like we have to do it all because we’re not getting a lot of support from our partners. Either way, this syndrome is holding you back, big time. Here are five ways this is hurting your business:
1. You Don’t Have Enough StaffIn any business venture, there comes a point where you have too much stuff to do yourself, but you’re not sure if you should roll the dice and hire help. What if you can’t make payroll? What if they don’t do it as well as you would? You need to get help. Mitigate your risk by being clear about what you need done, and being selective about the hire—but do it, now. The minute you start taking off some of those hats you’ve been wearing, your business will start to grow.
2. You’re Coddling the Staff You Do HaveAre you spending time fixing the things your staff have done? Either you’re being too fussy (learn to let go, Grasshopper), or your employees are underperforming. Make sure you’re being very clear about deliverables, and if training and guidance don’t fix the issue, it’s time to find better employees.
3. You’re Keeping it all to YourselfPerhaps you know where you’re going, but do your people? You should have a clear sense of what you want to accomplish on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis, and your staff should know how what they do fits into this big picture. If they don’t know this, they won’t know how to prioritize what they’ve been given to do, and may even be working at cross-purposes to you and other staff.
4. You’re Making all the DecisionsYes, the buck stops with you, and ultimately you have the final decision. But did you consult with anyone along the way? That logo you adore might be confusing the heck out of your clients. That product you’re developing might be awesome to you, but will it resonate with your customer base? Decisions need to be based on facts, not feelings. Get some data, fast.
5. You’re Reinventing the WheelWhile there’s a lot to be said for keeping mission-critical processes in-house, there’s absolutely no point in investing time and money developing infrastructure for something that you can get from a reliable vendor at a fraction of the cost. Everything from online stores to project management to payroll processing—the tools are out there. Find one that’s right for you.
Chandra Clarke runs a new blog which analyzes the female entrepreneur. It's called Neverpink and you should check it out. She's also the founder and president of Scribendi, a service that includes blog editing and book editing.