Small Business Owners – Spread Yourself Too Thinly and Fail!

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I would consider myself a successful small business owner. Am I a fantastic small business owner? I doubt it, but my business does cover my living costs and even pays for the odd treat now and again.  Having a successful business means I get asked a lot by friends and associates how I manage all my time commitments and still manage to make a profit. More often than not I find myself telling them to stick to what they are good at, not to get distracted and outsource the tasks that you are not so adept at. These simple rules have saved me more time and heartache than any others, and I encourage you as you read on to think about how each point can be applied to your own situation.

Your Skills

The reason you set up your business is very likely due to one of two things – you are either very good at what you do, or you have a passion for the business niche. In reality it is usually a combination of both of these. People who possess only one of these traits will find it hard to succeed, people who possess neither will fail. My point is that it’s senseless for an accountant to set up a sky diving company simply because they experienced it once and quite enjoyed it. Either set up an accountancy business where you will be skilled and have experience, or set up a company in an area you really feel passionate about. I run an extreme sports company and it’s successful largely because I’m highly enthusiastic about the niche.

Distractions

Being an entrepreneur takes a certain type of character. Here are some of the traits most commonly found in business moguls

•    Ambition
•    Opportunism
•    Drive
•    Creativity
•    Confidence
•    Fortitude

Whilst these traits are often highly desirable, they do have the habit of making entrepreneurs easy to distract. Not in a “I wonder if I can throw this paper ball off my monitor and into the bin” kind of way, but in a “there’s another gap in the market I could exploit” kind of way. I have seen this kind of distraction kill many a business, as the captain of a potentially lucrative ship decides he wants to try and navigate a couple more vessels through treacherous waters at the same time. Only until the project you’re working on is turning a profit and you are able to offload work to others should you even consider going after another venture.

Outsourcing

Ask any very successful business man or woman what they attribute their success to most, and they will likely tell you it’s surrounding themselves with people who are better than they are. By this they mean not trying to become a marketing professional or expert designer themselves, but instead finding the best people around to do those jobs for them. You don’t necessarily have to outsource, but having access to the best people will greatly improve your chances of succeeding. There is no way on earth that one person can become as competent in ten jobs as ten individual professionals can on one job each. The sooner you realise this, the sooner you will find yourself with more time to concentrate on what you are good at, and the sooner your business will benefit as a result