Small business owner

The Proud Small Business Owner: Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Starting your own business can leave you feeling on top of the world. Once you’ve made the decision to strike out on your own and experienced some initial success, you might feel as though you can do anything you set your mind to.

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

There are plenty of things you can’t do — at least not without help. Can you fly? Not without an airplane. Can you dunk on a 12-foot rim? Not without a ladder.

You probably accept that you can’t do these basic physical things without the right tools, so why assume you can run every aspect of your business without help from anyone else? Even if you like to think of yourself as multi-skilled, think carefully about your situation for a moment; if you do everything on your own, you’ll be taking on the roles of an accountant and a tax lawyer. Those professionals go to school for a minimum of four years and typically have years of experience in their chosen field. It’s ridiculous to think that you could take on their roles as well as your own.

You can’t afford to do it yourself

It’s true that hiring professionals to help you with your accounting or tax preparations takes money, but so does every aspect of business. You accept that you need to pay for your office space, your equipment, even your coffee filters, as these are unavoidable costs of doing business. Paying professionals to help you with the technical or financial aspects of your business is just the same.

Think of it as an investment in your business.

As a small business owner, you can’t afford to do everything yourself. Your time is precious. If you’re currently running a startup on your own, you probably already feel you are being pulled in too many different directions at the same time. Despite working very long hours, you may be making frustratingly slow progress. If this situation sounds familiar, it’s time to surround yourself with a team that can support you.

Related: Improve Your Startup with Strategic Team Management

Lesson 1: don’t undervalue the things you can’t do or don’t understand

It’s easy to dismiss things you don’t understand as unimportant. However, this kind of oversight can be a big mistake. Choosing the right professional can provide great value to your business. Therefore, it’s important not to make the mistake of hiring the cheapest service available — or even worse, a family member — to handle your tax planning, accounting, website design, or social media activity. When you make hiring decisions purely on the basis of price, you show that you have little appreciation of those activities, which in reality are vital aspects of your business.

Lesson 2: don’t try to do it all yourself

In a 2015 article published in the Huffington Post, CEO Jared Hecht revealed that one of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is not acknowledging their own weaknesses. This leads many people to try to do everything themselves, which can lead to a lot of avoidable mistakes. At best, you can end up wasting a lot of time doing things for yourself, which takes your focus away from the core aspects of running your business. At worst, you could end up making expensive mistakes that cost a lot of money to put right.

A 2013 Time article backs up this anti-DIY advice, listing “trusting your gut” as one of the biggest mistakes made by new entrepreneurs. Even if you think your business idea is a game-changer that is guaranteed to make you a lot of money, you need validation from experts to confirm that your plans are realistic. Consult with others in the startup community so you can get valuable feedback to ensure your success.

Build a winning team

This is why the most powerful three-word business plan in the world is “do less, better.” Few successes result from the work of a single individual. Look at the most successful companies in existence today. They all have boards of directors directing their strategies; it doesn’t come down to one individual calling the shots. Even the president has a cabinet of advisors to help with the important job of running the country.

If you want to achieve even a fraction of the success that the world’s biggest companies and most powerful individuals have achieved, you need to build yourself a team. Work out which aspects of business you don’t know much about and start searching for professionals who can help you to manage them. These might include accounting, tax preparation, website design and development, social media marketing and search marketing. Once you have a strong team in place, you can begin to grow and expand the scope of your business, knowing that the group of professionals around you will be able to take on any challenges you face.

Related: Sign up to receive the StartupNation newsletter!

Invest in building your business

Money is a scarce resource for any small business owner. However, money that is sitting in your bank account won’t help your business to grow. Make this money work for you by using it to build a team of professionals who can give you the support, help and guidance you need to build and maintain a successful business.

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