Managing all aspects of my company is just too much
Q: I run a medium-sized company making IT hardware which is mainly exported to other countries. I am finding it extraordinarily difficult to manage both the production end of the business and the sales process along with the admin. Is there any advice you can give me?
Fergal replies: This is a classic problem for many businesses within the first five years of life. At the beginning, the business owner very often has to fulfil all of the key roles in the business as there is nobody else.
As the business progresses, hopefully funding allows for bringing in additional skill sets, thereby taking pressure from the business owner.
It seems to me that you are at that classic point within the business; you can no longer manage all of these functions yourself and either you need to bring in external resources or delegate some of your own responsibilities to others on the team.
There are a number of possible approaches that you could consider right now. The Job Bridge and Job Plus initiatives that the Government is running are designed to support businesses to grow and to allow them to then employ the person on the scheme. They are workable schemes and lots of businesses have used them to create employment and to help the business progress.
You also need to question your own role within the business and see where you are adding most. Perhaps it is time to make a 'not to do list' as well as a 'to do' list! Once you have identified these surplus tasks, decide whether they can be delegated to different members of the existing team or whether you need to bring in completely new expertise to absorb them.
I recently met a business owner who, after doing an analysis of their own time management and where they could contribute most to the business, decided to completely eliminate incoming email from his weekly schedule. He simply took the view that he was spending hours every day answering other people's agendas rather than filling his own. He took a brave step but it certainly sends the signal that he is focused on the main task in hand.
Certainly one choice that you don't have is to do nothing. Your own inaction in solving this problem could jeopardise the future of the business or slow down potential growth so you need to be rigorous in your pursuit of a solution.
Do you have a problem with your small business? Email Feargal at firstname.lastname@example.org