So what exactly is a "Small Business Lone Ranger?" A "Small Business Lone Ranger" is a business owner who does all the work themselves.
No matter how big or small the project, the Lone Ranger handles 100% of it. Either because they're afraid to let go of control or because they feel they can't afford to hire help. Can you relate? I know I can!
So what's wrong with doing everything yourself? Well it's tough to grow your business if you're busy managing every single detail. I know it's a bit scary to let go of control or to consider actually hiring help, but I also know it's necessary if you want to grow your business to its fullest potential.
Take my 10-question quiz to determine if YOU are a Lone Ranger. And don't worry if you are, I've got some suggestions to help you rid yourself of this business-stifling affliction!
1. Do you work alone?
2. Do you feel no one can do your work quite as well as you?
3. Do you often feel there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done?
4. Do you maintain your own website?
5. Do you do your own accounting and billing?
6. Do you write your own sales and marketing copy?
7. Do you get your own mail?
8. Do you buy your own office supplies?
9. Do you create or deliver all your products and services by yourself?
10. Do you fulfill and ship all your sales yourself?
I think you can see this list could go on and on and on, but you get the idea. So if you answered "Yes" to most or all of these questions, guess what, YOU ARE A LONE RANGER! That's okay, I've been one, too.
When your business is small you have to wear many hats because you can't afford to hire help. But at what point do you make a decision to start delegating tasks to someone else? ANSWER: When the time you're spending on administrative tasks involved in keeping your business running prevents you from spending time growing your business.
As a business owner, you should aim to spend at least 60% of your time marketing. You are the BEST person to market your product or service. And marketing is the only way your business will grow and flourish. So if you're too busy paying bills, getting the mail, responding to email and running out to pick up office supplies, then guess what? You don't have time to market. And your business cannot grow.
So what's a Small Business Lone Ranger to do? Here are 6 tips:
1. Make a list of all the tasks that don't require your specific expertise or talent (things like sorting mail, buying office supplies, and filing).
2. Make a second list of the tasks that consume a lot of your time but are OUTSIDE your specific area of expertise (things like maintaining your web site or managing your business finances and accounting).
3. Determine how many hours per week you spend doing these tasks.
4. Determine what additional sales and marketing, or other business-building activities you would have time for if you didn't have to do these other tasks.
5. Estimate how many additional clients or sales you could generate with this extra time spent on marketing and building your business.
6. Make a decision to hire an assistant, bookkeeper, web site manager or whatever specialists are appropriate to handle these tasks. Determine what you can afford based on your results in Tip Number 5.
I know you're probably wondering how you'll be able to afford it. But really, we can't afford NOT to hire help. Unless we are satisfied with keeping our business small. And don't get me wrong, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that — I've done it for seven years. But if you have a bigger vision (like I do now), then you need a team to help you make that vision a reality.
To start with, your team should include an assistant to do the work that is not a good use of your time. This doesn't have to be a full-time employee; I'm starting out with someone just a few hours a week. You'll also want to get a bookkeeper and a CPA to manage your finances — they'll not only free you up from your accounting tasks, they'll also help you keep more of what you do make.
So take a moment to get a clear vision of what kind of business you want to create. And if that vision is larger than you can accomplish on your own, take the six steps above to get a team to help you make it a reality.
(C) Copyright 2005 Debbie LaChusa