Entrepreneurs are wired to be “can-do” accomplishers. This mindset is the entrepreneur’s greatest virtue and can also be our biggest roadblock to building great businesses.
The “can-do” mindset is what enables an entrepreneur to start and to persist until goals are accomplished. That same mindset can also lead an entrepreneur to believe that they need to do everything to drive company success. This is when “can-do” becomes “can-do-too-much.” Effectiveness and opportunity are diminished when we spread ourselves too thin or focus on low value activities.
Saving Pennies Instead of Generating Dollars
When starting and building a company, our most valuable asset is time. We make the mistake of focusing more on cash and costs than on value. As a result, we squander both time and money to save pennies when we could be generating dollars.
These entrepreneurs are proud of managing their cash well, but in reality have squandered significant time and energy. The result is lost opportunity. Cash may be saved, but the leader’s value to the company has been compromised.
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An even more common scenario: One of the business owners I know spends her evenings and weekends working, mostly on administrative tasks. She enters transactions in QuickBooks, reviews employee expense reports, manages her company’s social media and reconciles sales spreadsheets she built in her “spare time”. She frequently does these tasks at her kids’ sporting events, and before she knows it, the games are over. She knows others can do these things, but is reluctant to delegate.
Sound familiar? The result of a “can-do-too-much” approach to running a business leads to frustration and burnout. Your feelings of being overwhelmed are constant. The unrelenting demands of business minutia leave no room for creativity, client development, strategic thinking and other core business growth drivers.
A Key Mindset Change
Smart, motivated and capable entrepreneurs get lost in the details and, as a result, lose their drive and vision. Without knowing it, you fall into being an employee of a company rather than the enthusiastic leader who started the business in the first place.
Your focus is in the business rather than on the business. Changing your focus is a key mindset change for entrepreneurial leaders. You need to move from “I can (or I have to) do it all” to the mindset of “I choose to do the most important things for the good of the company.”
One of the ways you can follow this mindset is by outsourcing time-consuming tasks and activities that require expertise you do not have (even if you don’t want to admit it).
One Question Enables Success
Ask yourself one simple question for every task that consumes more than a minute of your time: “Is this activity the best investment of my time for my business?” I suspect you know the answers even before you begin to ask the questions.
Make a list of two types of your activities:
- Are not the best investments of my time
- Should be done by someone with greater expertise
Within a week or two, you will identify multiple activities that have value, but are not the best investments of your time or that need someone with expertise to be done well. This list will become your framework to begin outsourcing key business activities.
In the coming weeks, I’ll have a few more posts related to specific tasks you can outsource and how to go about it effectively.
In the meantime, what are some activities you are already thinking of that are not the best investment of your time? What impact will outsourcing have on your company’s success?
Photo Credits: Clock: Bart Hiddink via Flikr: http://ow.ly/S0hWU; Dollars N' Cents: Jeffrey Smith: http://ow.ly/S0iox