Are you tired and feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff you need to do to run your business? Do you feel like your social media is patchy at best because there are simply not enough hours in the day? Admin gets pushed to the bottom of the list and your inbox is out of control?
Those daily running tasks can feel insurmountable, especially if you have self-assessment to file. That in itself is a great example of how if you did a little each month and filed them in, say April, you wouldn’t be sat sobbing over a box of receipts at the end of January each year. But, hey, that’s all part of the fun of running your own business.
Most of us would agree that if we had an extra person helping out then we’d ease the pressure and our businesses would grow. Either that or somehow double the available hours in the day. Yet, knowing that you need extra support and being able to afford extra support are often at odds with each other.
Investing in another person is a risk, not just for your business but also your finances. Especially, if your business is quite new. However, you don’t necessarily need to have a regular member of staff to be able to get the support you need in order to get the work done. Here are some other ways that you can get help when you are starting out:
Most people I know, myself included, started out as an intern. Learning a business from the bottom and getting real experience as to what it is like working in that industry is invaluable. For a business-owner, you get help in the pressure points of your business and the pleasure of giving a young person some real work experience.
For your intern, they get to find out if this is the sort of job they would want to do. They get to learn real skills and put something on their CV.
Be aware that internships should not be unpaid. Interns are classed as workers for the period that they are at your business and as such, you should be giving them minimum wage. This is a good thing because interns are more invested when they know they are getting paid.
Automate the process
It is quite possible that you can reclaim hours of your time by automating or streamlining some of your processes. Start by tracking how you use your time over the period of week, pay attention to the things you are doing and how long you spend on them. You might be surprised at how long you spend on certain tasks and that setting up a streamlined process or automation will take less time.
Let’s take email, for example. If you spend the first few hours of your day going through your emails, you might find that by the time you’ve got to the end, you’re left with more emails to respond to. Instead, set yourself a timer and only check you emails at set times during the day for a limited amount of time. You will be more efficient if you know you only have 15 minutes to reply to emails and naturally prioritise the urgent ones.
Getting someone to help in short, sharp bursts on a regular basis can be a real gift. This doesn’t need to be costly and can often pay for itself. For example, I have a monthly call with my business coach to help set my priorities each month.
I run one-off business support calls where I provide support and strategy with a real focus on my clients’s business. This can be anything from setting up an email marketing strategy and training in how to get the most out of the software; providing an SEO strategy and training; or running a pre-call social media audit and giving them a check list of things they can do to achieve a focused strategy.
It is a quick and affordable way to get help in a small business.
If you still don’t think you can afford support then the next best thing is to ensure you are fully trained and up to date on all the areas where you know you’re struggling. You can get checklists and cheat sheets, do an affordable training course or learn from your peers in a mastermind group. You may find one thing suits you more than another.
Finally, you are not in this alone. Running a business can often feel like you are an island but there are plenty of networks and communities out there with other business owners like you who can offer help, support or an invite for a coffee.