Small business plate spinning needn’t mean broken plates.
Having started my own business a few years ago, I found it difficult to keep each of the plates spinning, one moment I was consultant, the next trainer, then admin clerk, a very frightened head of sales, marketing (not so) guru, and pretty much every other trade necessary to keep my business running.
I had little or no budget for personal study and learning, let alone employing people to do the jobs that they would have been good at, leaving me to do the job that I was good at, the one that I originally started my company for.
Skybrook Consultants survived and more amazingly, I have been able to expand my ‘products’ from their original IT roots through to the more personal coaching, mindset and mental resilience training that I now offer. My company’s success for a while however, had been mainly down to really hard work, lots of effort, much of it misplaced, and many, many mistakes. Sometimes it was only sheer will power that got me through.
I like to believe that I am competent at most things, and my previous experience in the corporate world had given me the expectation that setting up my own business would be simple, however the truth was the actual reality of running my own business was very different and I learnt many lessons along the way.
1. It isn’t possible to know everything.
Running your own company is not just about doing what you love, it’s about doing all the other things that are necessary to keep the company running. All those other roles I talked about earlier, all that plate spinning. Your natural skills might include numbers and so you'll feel quite happy in the knowledge that you can do the accounts, but do you know how to build your own website, can you set up an automated calendar system?
2. It’s not possible to be good at everything.
You may have the skills to undertake all the roles, however are you equally as good at every role that you undertake? You could be able, however enthusiasm, time and sheer necessity will certainly impact the level of care and detail that you give to each. If selling the product is what brings the money into your company, then that is what you will need to concentrate on, but if IT and web design is what excites you then you are going to be more likely to spend time on that, perhaps to the detriment of the other tasks of the day.
3. Fear causes procrastination.
Certain elements of running a business are absolute pre-requisites, sales for instance, although in my experience, I've met very few small business owners that call themselves sales people. The reality is, however we are ALL sales people or at least should be. W all promote ourselves and our products, it’s just how well we do it.
I freely admit that I used to be terrified of sales, frightened of promoting myself and my company’s products. My reaction to this fear was not to admit to myself the truths of points 1 & 2 and rather than do something about the fear, I'd bury my head in the sand and find other things, something, ANY thing else to do rather than actively contacting people. And sometimes, I kid you not, even cleaning the bathroom and loos took priority over doing a sales based activity.
4. Procrastination stops achievement.