Small business owners are crazy busy. They are running in a hundred different directions, changing hats on a dime, and fighting one fire, only for another one to start. Somehow they have to figure out how to market their business, sell to customers, stay on top of the finances, and manage the day to day operations. As if that is not enough, many have families that long for their attention. Being an entrepreneur is rarely easy. That is why some people opt for a typical 9 to 5 job with a steady paycheck.
However, there is a large and growing number of individuals that love the perks of being an entrepreneur: the flexibility, the creativity, being their own boss, and the potential to be wildly successful. Before entrepreneurs can enjoy some of these benefits, there is a period of complete chaos, uncertainty, long hours, and little cash flow.
In order for small business owners to take their business to the next level, there will come a time when a one-man band no longer works. Not only is it isolating, but the business can’t sustain itself without hiring help. Making the decision to take the leap from one person to a team of two, three, ten, or 50 is never without angst. Bringing on outside help should definitely be a serious consideration, but it should never be something that paralyzes you. In order to move past the fear of taking this step, small business owners need to address the internal beliefs that stop them from doing what is necessary to grow their business.
Here are the seven common mindsets I have found entrepreneurs need to examine and fix before they hire the help they need and deserve:
#1 – I don’t have the money.
This is probably the most common belief I hear. Believe me, I understand. I owned a business before (and now) and money was tight, but it wasn’t non-existent. The question is and has always been, “Where is the money you do have best spent?” If you are in over your head, and your business is suffering because of lack of time, then it’s best to take the plunge.
Start small. Hire a freelancer for a certain number of hours each week or month. Look into internships that would enable you to get help at a lower cost, for a shorter period of time. Cut costs somewhere else to free up the cash to hire help. Consider bartering opportunities that wouldn’t take up your time. Some small business owners I know even brought on people who were willing to volunteer their time for a good cause, or experience. If you start believing you have the money, you will be amazed how creative solutions will arise.
#2 – No one can do the things I do.
There is no doubt that some elements of your job are complicated and require your expertise. My partner currently needs a construction project manager. This position requires some knowledge of the construction industry, and there is a steeper learning curve. Maybe you are an excellent salesperson, and a master closer. This probably means hiring someone for new business development is not the answer for you. There will always be tasks you do that are best handled by you.
Other tasks, however, can be delegated to other people. Often it’s a matter of learning to let go of control and trusting that others are equally talented in their own area of expertise. A good copywriter is excellent at using words to market your business. An accomplished and trusted bookkeeper will manage all your finances so you don’t have to worry about it. All your blog posts, newsletters, and other communications can be elevated with an experienced and creative writer. Address your need to control everything and allow yourself to trust others as well.
#3 – I don’t know what kind of help I need.
It can be overwhelming to sort through all the many tasks you complete in a given week and decide which ones you can offload. I always tell clients to start with tasks they don’t enjoy or aren’t good at. When you don’t like something, or a task doesn’t play to your strength, chances are you will procrastinate and avoid it for as long as you can.
One of the tasks that caused the most anxiety for me when I first started my business was marketing copy. Every time I sat down to write a sales page or marketing collateral, I would get writer’s block. I was great at writing my newsletter or blog, but copywriting was a completely different story. I was thrilled when I met a copywriter and hired her for a small project. It didn’t cost me a whole lot of money but the weight it lifted from my shoulders was priceless.
Pick tasks that are ongoing and chew up a lot of your time or one time projects that need to be done, but you just can’t seem to get around to doing. Start with one or two tasks at a time. As your time is freed up, your mind will be more open to what other tasks could be delegated. Soon you will find yourself doing exactly the things you were created to do…your strengths and passions.
#4 – My business quality will suffer.
If you hire the wrong people, you are absolutely right. Bringing on individuals that don’t produce quality work will be a nightmare for you. The last thing you want to do is add more stress worrying about whether or not your help will complete an assignment on time, or meet the business standards you have set for your company.
That is why it is so important to take the time to find the right people. If possible, ask to see samples of their work. Call references and ask questions about the person you are considering hiring. Consider freelancers or contract workers so you can cut your losses early if they are not working out.
Once a person is hired, set them up with clear expectations and quality standards so they know how to perform. I have heard so many employees complain they have never seen a job description, and they have no idea what they are supposed to be doing. Putting a thorough training plan in place provides you and the employee with extra security that a job will be done right. In the early stage of employment, meet often to discuss progress and goals. Fix any problems right away. You have the ability to monitor and manage the quality of your business by hiring, training and coaching the right individuals.
#5 – I don’t have time to train someone.
Imagine the parent who says it is much easier to do the laundry, mow the lawn, or clean the bathroom themselves. This is the parent who doesn’t want to take the time to train their child in skills they haven’t mastered yet. It takes some time to show a child how to sort clothes, how much soap to use, and how to operate the washing machine and dryer. It takes even more focused energy to train them on folding clean clothes. It can be exasperating in the beginning, especially when you are busy and running out of time. But failure to train is crippling for the child and the family. Not only does the child never learn to be independent, but the family suffers because there is not enough time for play and relaxation.
It’s no different for a small business owner. If you want to free up some of your time for enjoyment, or to focus on other areas of your business, you must take the time to train someone new. It is a short-term pain for a long-term gain. There is no getting around it, so block off time in your schedule to focus on training. Be patient with the learning curve because a master isn’t created overnight. Think about what your life will be like when your hired help is running at full speed, and use this as motivation to keep you going.
#6 – All the good people are working already.
This belief is simply not true. The truth is there are good people who are working, and talented individuals who are not working. Many hard-working and smart people get laid off because the company they work for is struggling. Some people are wrongfully let go, simply because there is a lack of communication or a poor culture fit. You’ve heard the saying “Bad things happen to good people,” and this is true for employment as well.
Even if those experienced and awesome workers are currently employed, it doesn’t mean they are happy. It could mean they have a family to support and they are staying where it is comfortable. Perhaps they are actively looking and would jump at a chance to work for you. There is new talent entering the worker pool every day. It might take longer than you would like to find her, but eventually you will hire the perfect person for your business.
#7 – I don’t want to deal with the hassle of managing people.
This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe that it is a hassle to manage people, then you will attract people who are a hassle to work with. Think about the benefits you can enjoy if you have quality employees, freelancers or contractors to work with. If you have the right help, it can be a joy to collaborate, brainstorm and socialize with a team. One of the things I miss most about working in an actual office environment is the ability to work together with great people to reach a common goal. I wish I could strike up a heated ping pong match with one of my co-workers to ease a stressful time.
The wrong people are a hassle to manage. A lack of healthy and effective leadership can contribute to that struggle. Instead of focusing on the burden of managing people, work on being a better leader. Ask yourself what you need to change to attract and keep the best talent for your business. What leadership skills and company culture will make people wild about working with you? I recently stumbled upon a company called HappyOffice that is focused on creating happy employees and increasing employee engagement. Their feedback system could be exactly what you need to increase the happy factor of managing people.
Once upon a time, Facebook had one CEO that wore many hats and worked massive amounts of hours to grow his company. At the end of December 2015, they employed 12,691 full-time people. Maybe you won’t have or don’t want that many people helping you, but chances are you need at least one person to help you take your business to the next level. And when that time comes to hire someone to free up your time, I hope you will dump all these negative mindsets, and find the perfect person to help you grow your business.
7 Mindsets that Stop Small Business Owners from Hiring Help
August 18, 2016