Remember when your father used to say “If you want something done right, do it yourself?” It was those times that his mowing the lawn for you because you did it wrong was a good deal. However, we all grow up and learn that there was wisdom there, and when it’s time to get a job, creating your own can seem an enticing opportunity
Bootstrapping a business is a perfectly viable (maybe even preferable) path to take, but bootstrapped financing comes with limitations. You don’t have the money to hire the help you need, so you get into the habit of doing it yourself. In fact, in the early days it’s not even an option – you MUST do it yourself. But, there’s danger in learning this lesson too well and thinking that what works for a small business will work for a not-small business.
If you want to grow, you have rely on other people to do important things. It’s a mistake to think you can accomplish big things by hiring only low-level people to do the grunt work while you fill all the valuable roles. There are too many different skills required and you don’t possess them all.
What Do You Do Well?
The first step is to be brutally honest with yourself; what is it that you truly excel at? Is it sales? operations? strategy? Next, identify those important roles that require skills you don’t have. If you’re an ace business developer, you probably need an operations wizard. If you’re a big thinker you’ll need someone who’s good with details. Choose the work for yourself that will play off of your own strengths – offload your weaknesses.
What About The Things You Don’t
Now that you’ve decided to concentrate on what you do best, how do you make sure the other important stuff gets done?
1) Look at your current employees. Do any of them have the raw material to step up? Since you’ve been keeping them under wraps up to this point, they probably need training – but don’t assume that just because they haven’t been doing something they’re incapable.
2) If you don’t have someone in house that can be brought up to speed you might want to recruit someone new. Make sure you fully understand what role you’re recruiting for and looks for those skills.
3) Outsource – especially when a role needs very specific experience but you don’t need it full time. Only very large companies have lawyers, and PR people, and the like on staff – most businesses outsource these on an as-needed basis. You can do the same with a multitude of roles: marketing, HR, accounting, etc. Many highly qualified professionals are out of work these days, so hiring a savvy consultant in any number of fields is much easier now than it used to be. Take full advantage of this opportunity to receive quality help from able professionals.
4) Partner up with another company – one that has complementary strengths to yours. This is a common approach for companies with strong technical or product abilities and weak marketing or distribution.
An Investment That Pays Off
Keep in mind that starting and growing a business is going to cost money. There are times to be frugal, and there are times to be bold so choose wisely. Concentrating on your strengths and investing in shoring up your weaknesses is a bold move that will pay dividends in growth and profits.