Building Team “You”

I’m pretty sure it was John Dunne who wrote “No man is an island”, and for those of us who run small, or, as I like to call them, “petite” businesses, this statement is very true.  We can only get so far on our own, because we can only do so much ourselves.  Sooner or later, we have to sleep ☺.

BUILDING YOUR TEAM

Before we get started, you should know that it takes time to build your team.  A team is definitely something you grow into as your business needs it, not something you try to build in a weekend.  For example, a little over a year ago, my team was just me and had been for a number of years.  However, once I decided to expand my company, and create another one, it rapidly became apparent to me that I needed help and I needed it fast.

Once our business grows to the point that we’re choosing between, say, doing the bookkeeping or going on sales calls, it’s time to get some help.  In my case, I needed to carve out time in my schedule to get a new company off the ground.  Because part of this decision was to also take my career in a completely new direction, I knew there was going to be a rather long learning curve for this new company and I knew I was going to need to carve out time for that also.  So, I hired my first assistant, ever, to do some of the more basic accounting and bookkeeping tasks for my clients so that I could spend my time on other things.

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What’s Wrong With “Good Enough”?

Maybe it’s the sandbox I play in, but I get 5-10 emails a week touting how to make “6 Figures A Year” or how someone makes “$40,000 a month!” or, “How I made $26,419.87! In four hours! Standing on my head juggling water balloons! And if you are smart enough to buy my product you can do it too — in thirty minutes or less! While you’re sleeping!”

Really?

Now, not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with six figures a year, or $40,000 a month or whatever.  I’d like to make that, too.  That’s not what I’m saying.

What I’m saying is: What’s wrong with smaller goals?

Who says the goal has to be to quit your day job?  Maybe you like your day job, you just need to a little bit more each month, or maybe you need an outlet for your creativity.  What’s wrong with “good enough”?  What’s wrong with wanting to start a small business on the side you can run from home in the evenings or on the weekends to entertain yourself, for example, or pay for daycare, or at least offset the cost a little bit? Hey, maybe you want to take a special vacation? Heck, any vacation and not have to put it on your credit card!  Maybe you want to get off the finance charge merry-go-round and you need to pay down those credit cards, pay off your car, or put money away in your Roth IRA.

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What’s Wrong With the Middle of the Pack?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I was not an A+ student.  I wasn’t even an A- student.  I didn’t graduate in the top ten percent of my class, I wasn’t the valedictorian, and I didn’t go to an Ivy League school. As a matter of fact, I graduated from a state college right smack dab in the middle of the class, and it took me four and a half years to do it. (There were reasons, but still, it’s not like I finished in three with a year to spare.)

And you know what?

No one cares.

That’s right: No One Freaking Cares.

All things considered, I’m pretty darn successful.  I’ve run my own company for closing in on fifteen years.  I own my own house, my car, and can afford all the things I need, and a few of the things I want.  Life is not so bad in the middle of the pack.

Also, I didn’t do anything extraordinary.  I’m an accountant. How blah can you get?  I take care of small businesses finances.  I teach others how to get their business started and take care of it.  I didn’t invent Google or create some new medical device or figure out how to spin straw into gold.  I do something that’s been done for eons, and it isn’t exactly sexy. ☺

I read a great post the other day and one of the author’s comments has been bouncing around in my head ever since.  He said all you need is an average idea with above average execution.

He’s absolutely right.

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Scalability – Your Ticket To Freedom

If you’re a small business owner who is just starting out, you’re probably doing everything. You’re making sales, you’re paying bills, heck, you’re probably taking out the trash and adding the copier paper. But, if you’re like me, and most of the people I know who’ve started a company, you don’t plan to be doing it all forever.

Ahhhh, there’s that word again: Plan.

What IS the Plan?

Now, maybe you don’t plan for your company to grow all that much, either for now or maybe even ever.  No, really, sometimes, growth isn’t the goal. When I first started my consulting company I intentionally didn’t take on more clients than I could handle alone because I didn’t want the added stress of employees and all the rigamarole that comes with them. There were reasons for this: I was essentially a single mom from the time my daughter was six, and I had enough on my plate with raising my kiddo, taking care of my clients, and making sure they paid me. Growing the company wasn’t a goal, getting it solid so it could support just me was enough of a job. And I did just fine with the company staying just the way it was.

But now, I’m ready to take the company to a new level and I’ve had to basically sit down and tear apart all the systems I’ve had in place for the last thirteen years. Because while they worked just fine for me, they started breaking down once I started adding new employee’s, revenue streams, and clients.

Why? Because they weren’t Scalable.

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