How to avoid doing everything yourself: a guide for business owners
For example, you, the reader, might have worked as a taxi driver for a long time and have decided to start your own ride-hailing business because you know and understand this industry. Perhaps, you’re a serial entrepreneur: ride-hailing isn’t your first business and won’t be your last. Whatever the case, there is a problem too many small business owners and entrepreneurs face, and it is this one: they treat their business as a DIY project.
There is a study that showed that 70% of small business owners prefer to do everything themselves. It claims that the majority of small business owners in the UK do not like to delegate tasks to their staff.
There’s so much wrong with the very idea that one person has to do all aspects of a business, and we’ll get to this later in the article. But let’s start with why this is happening in the first place.
Having worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, we know what they believe in: that they are the only ones who are competent to run their businesses. And there is a grain of truth in it. No one knows your business as well as you do. No one, probably, cares as much about it. It might take time to teach someone to do what you already know, and often, there is just not enough budget to hire other people. But while this is true when you’re starting out, it becomes a damaging belief system when your business grows and you’re still the one doing everything. Business owners have to deal with hiring, management, fundraising, marketing, sales, customer service, legal issues, and so much more. They have to manage risks, communicate with people, build reputation, and make decisions. All. The. Time.
This results in two problems.
Problem #1: Entrepreneurs burn out. There is research suggesting that entrepreneurs and business owners are more at risk of early burnout, and polling organizations Opinium and the Centre for Economic and Business Research found that as much as 92% of small business owners have experienced mental health problems over the past two years.
Problem #2: When you treat your company as a DIY project, your company suffers. Getting involved in every aspect of your business means you’re overworked all the time, which, in turn, means that you make more mistakes. Some of the aspects of your business suffer because you simply don’t have the time for it. Other aspects suffer because you’re not a real expert in this area, and you use your intuition to perform the task, while what you really need is thorough research and analytics, which you don’t have the time for. Finally, there is the problem of getting stuck. Working alone tends to make us set in our ways and develop blind spots. Creative ideas don’t come as often, and you end up doing the same thing over and over again. Sounds familiar?
So here’s when you need to start delegating tasks, no matter how nervous that might make you feel at first.
1. When there’s more work than you can handle.
Smart business models assume the distribution of labor. Once you have the budget to hire people or outsource some of the tasks, it’s necessary you do that. Costs are easily justified when you calculate your own hourly rate - something every entrepreneur should do. This way, you will lighten your workload, focus on the tasks you handle best, and become a better leader. All of this is vital for your business to grow and for you to survive the challenges of entrepreneurship.
2. When you face someone else’s area of expertise.
As entrepreneurs, you have to become a little bit of an expert in everything your company does. You need to know both the tech and the sales, the marketing and the customer service. You need to understand both the drivers and the investors. In the beginning, it might well be the case when you have no choice but to roll with it, and confidently state that you’re equally good at everything you do. However, again, once you have the budget, turn to the experts. You need to find people who have experience, education, and passion in their specific areas. Lawyers should be the ones drafting your contracts, and marketers should be the ones marketing your apps. Trust them - they’ve spent years becoming good at what they do and they actually enjoy their work!
3. When you feel stuck in your ways.
If you feel like you don’t have the time or the strength to come up with creative ideas and look at the tasks in front of you from a new perspective, it’s time to seek help. Anyone who has ever done anything important knows that at some point you need an outside opinion. You are sure to benefit from a consultant who’ll show you your blind spots and suggests (or even brings to life) new ideas and new projects.
Okay, I decided not to do everything myself. What are my options?
1. Hire in-house specialists
One option is to build a team. A team might cover some of the aspects of your business or all of them. In both cases, you’ll need a mix of people with different professional skills who can communicate, cooperate, and innovate together. It’s both easier and harder to build a team in 2022. On the one side, a lot of people work remotely, which means you can find professionals of any caliber and for any budget. On the other hand, people work remotely ( :) ), which means that it’s harder to foster a strong sense of teamwork, prevent a high turnover rate, and communicate clearly.
Another way to decrease workload and work with specialists is to outsource some of your tasks. Keep in mind that this option and the previous one are not mutually exclusive. For example, you can hire a marketing agency to do your marketing and have an in-house team doing everything else. Outsourcing is often highly cost-effective and helps to speed up the time-to-market period. Yet, choosing a company to outsource to can be a difficult task for the business owner. You need to consider many factors, such as expertise in your niche, cost, skillsets, and data security. It’s important to check case studies and look up clients’ testimonials on the vendor’s website and social media.
3. Partner with other companies
Partnerships might be the most underrated and not talked about growth tactic for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Partner companies differ from outsourcing companies in that they benefit from the growth of their clients. If you generate more revenue and gain more clients, so does your partner.
This is how Onde works, and this is what keeps us motivated. We don’t just sell a ride-hailing platform to our clients, we also offer marketing services to make sure our clients grow, because the bigger our client is, the better it is for us. We have our own marketers, designers, and copywriters to do your App Store Optimization, send push notifications to your clients, create ads, analyze the results, and do so much more!