Too many hats for owners to wear well?
As a business owner you have a lot on your plate — all the hats to wear. We attempt to juggle the numerous roles involved in running a business and balance that with life. At times it can all feel too much. So what then?
I have experienced this personally as well as with companies that I’ve worked with. I’m a psychologist first and foremost, and I set up my business to make a difference to people’s ability to thrive, be their best and engage fully in life. I’ve never been trained in accounting, marketing, IT systems and so on… all the parts necessary for my business to succeed. So I set off on my lonely journey, trying to do everything and realising I wasn’t very good at a lot of it. Then I decided to try to get trained in some of this stuff, so that I could do it all more effectively. That helped… I was certainly less incompetent, but my juggling balls were struggling to stay in the air, I simply had too many of them and felt overwhelmed.
Having a chat with Isabel Gutierrez from Little Red Writing Agency recently, I was struck by her change in direction to create content for people rather than focus on helping people write their own.
“I’m focusing on specialist writing again and have reduced consulting as I realise I add more value removing the burden of writing from the business owner than showing them how or what to write.”
It’s a really important shift in helping businesses to reduce their overwhelm by taking some of the balls away. I think we’re part of a society that expects us to be superhuman, always striving for more and to be competent at everything. ‘Good’ no longer feels good enough. We want to be excellent. But we have limits. We’re human!
So, rather than trying to get the balls higher or throw them faster, why not take some away? By using experts in the things we’re not so good at or don’t enjoy so much, we increase our capacity to shine at what we’re brilliant at. And we get to focus our attention on the role we have chosen to engage with the company.
I let out a huge sigh of relief on Friday when working with my business coach, David Greenaway from Forty3Consulting, and website developer Aisha Kellaway from Scarletroo, to create a new website that really reflects me and what I do. The more I talk to people about my business needs and to clients about their challenges, I realise that instead of training people to be more competent across the board, we should empower them to focus on their area of expertise.
The argument I hear most against this is about cost. However, consider the cost of your time fumbling through, spending an hour to do something that an expert could do in 5 minutes. And then there’s the quality issue. Compare my current DIY website with what’s about to be created… it’s the difference between night and day. Ask yourself the question: What do you spend time on that you loathe or aren’t great at? Are your accounts up to date and informative/ helpful? Do you have effective HR support that engages and positively assists employees? Do the systems you have in place reduce workload, so that you can spend more time working on what you really want to achieve, for example, more time with family or enjoying a hobby? Who is on your dream team of support? I rely on
And what about the costs when your balls aren’t quite as high as they should be… not quite attracting the right clients, not quite increasing the value of your business, not quite investing in your staff enough that they are fully on board and perform at their best? The long-term cost saving of reducing turnover due to poor leadership will far outweigh any initial training outlay.
When you take time to sit and work out the real cost to one person trying to juggle all of this versus getting the right people to help you, it’s clear that it doesn’t make sense to try to keep it all in house. Imagine becoming a manager and being told you have a support team around you! Contrast someone muddling through and someone being able to excel in their role.
It’s taken me a long time to realise this! Only now that I’m reaching out to experts for help, I’m able to switch my attention to what I’m good at. That reduces my stress and workload and makes what I do much more attractive to clients. It also means I’m a better mum as I’m no longer trying to achieve the impossible.
For more information about how I can reduce your workload and stressors and increase your knowledge, skills and confidence to support people in your business, drop me a line. firstname.lastname@example.org
You might also find this article, published in the Oxford Times in September, helpful: