If you’re a small business owner, freelancer, or entrepreneur, you probably (read:definitely) know all too well just how difficult (read: impossible) it can be to keep up with every little thing that demands your attention. From client meetings, to collecting payments, to managing employees, there seems to be a constant stream of menial business tasks that distract from actually getting your work done. As you struggle just to keep your head above water, just remember that you’re not alone. In fact, most companies have likely been exactly where you are. There are common problems facing small businesses and in this post we look at a few ways you might tackle them.
Here are a few scenarios you may be familiar with .
Too few people trying to fill too many roles
Whether your business consists of just yourself or if you have a few employees, it’s likely that each individual wears many different hats. For example, your sales guy might be in charge of reporting to clients and your web designer might be in charge of SEO tasks. This can be problematic, especially if of those roles are not within the comfortable skillsets of those individuals. Trying to juggle too much at once can quickly overwhelm even the most diverse employees. At times, startup employees can truly feel like they’re making everything up as they go along. That is great once in a while for learning new skills, but it is far from the most efficient way of doing business.
Hire a few freelancers. Whether it is accounting, copywriting or marketing, you will be able to find someone who is competent in areas where you or your employees are not. Finding a good freelancer can be tough, and the good ones are not cheap, but you will save money in the long run by hiring someone who can efficiently complete tasks that would take a lot more of your valuable time to accomplish.
Keeping clients happy
As mentioned, when juggling every single business task, it can be hard enough to get your paying client work done. It can seem like every time you turn around there is another fire to extinguish. Client A expects you to deliver a month’s worth of work in a single day, and Client B thinks they can get the same work done for cheaper somewhere else. Both are demanding attention that is ultimately distracting from actually working for them!
Set realistic expectations. Always follow through on your promises – even if it means working overtime. Contact them about any potential problems before they contact you!
Growing and losing quality of work.
Scaling your business and keeping productivity and quality of work consistent is no simple task for even the most dedicated entrepreneurs. If you find that you are having trouble with this, it is best to remember that growth is why you’re in business in the first place. You should be growing, so try not to stress. If you have to, put in some extra time until you can comfortably hire another employee to take some of the workload off of your back. The major recurring theme of this article is to not be afraid to hire help.
When you have so much on your plate that you can barely keep up, try tools such as Trello to help you create an easy list of important tasks and check them off as you complete them.
This is a big problem for far too many small businesses! Whether it is simply having enough money to pay for tools to get your job done correctly or simply not making enough to remain profitable, this is by far the worst problem your company can face.
Hire some help. You might think you can manage your money on your own, but very few can do this on your own. You need an accountant, there’s simply no way around it.
If you’re truly feeling like you can handle this yourself, here are a few tools to help you:
InvoiceHome – To help you bill your clients easily and get paid quickly.
Mint – To help you manage your money and create effective budgets.
Xero – A suite of wonderful, robust accounting softwares.
This ties directly back into the first point in this article. For many small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs, hard work is engrained deep in their DNA. Becoming overworked can creep up slowly and burnout can strike out of seemingly nowhere. It is important for not only your businesses productivity, but also for your mental health and well being that you pace yourself and work at a rate which won’t leave you feeling crushed under piles of unfinished tasks.
Creating schedules and breaking up difficult jobs into easy to manage smaller tasks is one way to go about avoiding burnout. Work as hard as you can, but never feel guilty for taking a break when you need it.