Your Biggest Business Mistake
When I share with creative entrepreneurs in webinars, through my course, or in individual or small group mentoring calls, we inevitably talk about building a business team. This is the one thing that most entrepreneurs fail to prioritize and it’s the one thing that I think is absolutely essential to make your business grow.
Until you make your first effective hire, you are limiting the profit potential of your business. I 100% guarantee it.
That’s obviously a problem. So what do we do about that? Let’s take a quick look at some reasons you might be reluctant to hire help:
You “can’t afford it.” You can! It just depends on what you’re willing to sacrifice. If you have to hire based on commission, do that. If you need to cut your own salary, I promise, it’s worth it. I didn’t take a salary for two years so that I could pay Kellie and Danae, and they’re still with me today. This business wouldn’t be what it is today without them.
You literally don’t know how. Figuring out the payroll/tax/1099 information just seems way too overwhelming and you’re already drowning. SO. Maybe your first hire should be retaining an accountant. Regardless, don’t let one day of problem-solving keep you from a future of increased profitability and productivity.
You’ve been burned before. You’ve had someone work for you before and it didn’t end well. The work they did wasn’t helpful, or you never found a good rhythm, or you hired a friend and it got awkward. Been there.
You don’t know what help you need, you just know that you need help. You know that you’re barely keeping up with your workload, but you don’t even know what you would or could delegate if you did have help.
You have control issues. You’ve been going at it alone for so long, that you truly believe no one can do any part of your job better than you.
I can relate to all of these. So, I can tell you with confidence that while these are valid concerns, they’re keeping you from achieving the big goals you have for your business. Your business success will only increase as you build a diverse team. Just like a financial advisor would tell you to diversify your investment portfolio, a business advisor would tell you to diversify the skills and gifts of your team.
When I first acquired my business, it was an event rental business that came with a full staff. After I decided I wanted to do florals exclusively, I was told that I didn’t need all the employees I had, but I was absolutely determined to keep everyone. This ended up being a mistake. I soon found that while I had a staff, I didn’t have a team. I had a bunch of people on the payroll, but no one had designated tasks or roles that were hers alone. There was a lot of overlap, inefficiency, and frustration for everyone. I found myself trying to find jobs for the people I already had on staff, instead of finding the best people for the roles and responsibilities I needed to fill.
I ended up having to fire someone, let someone else go, and I was left with Kellie and Danae, who are still with me today.
Most of you are currently running your businesses solo, not trying to figure out roles for an existing team of employees. Whether you have an existing team or you’re a team of one, we all fall into this trap. We give ourselves all the roles and all the tasks, without considering that we’d make more money and have more time if we found the best people for our business needs.
Here are some encouragements I have for you as you consider team-building.
Even though I truly believe that I have the ability to learn any skill I need to be successful, I recognize that I don’t need to do it all. Some tasks, I’m just not naturally gifted in, and it would take someone else less time and effort to be great at that same task. By delegating those tasks, I can free myself up to do what I’m best at and see someone else excel at the things that didn’t excite me .
Ask yourself, how much time am I wasting doing things that I don’t like to do and don’t play to my strengths? What else could I be doing with that time, and how could that time translate to money made or time gained?
When you determine what work you most enjoy, it will free you up mentally and emotionally. If you’re feeling burnt out, you likely need to delegate so you can focus on the things that fill you up.
Divide a sheet of paper in half and make two lists-- one list of tasks you’re taking on that you LOVE, and one list of things you’d never do again if you didn’t have to. Figure out which of the ‘never again’ tasks you could delegate.
Don’t let this be a discouraging activity! Instead of thinking of the list as things you like and things you hate, it might be helpful to think of your first list as things you want to say yes to, and the second list as things you want to actively say no to. In business, we all have to do things we don’t love to do. When we can, however, we should off-load the tasks that would best fit someone else. This is just the first step in recognizing if and when you could hire a new team member, what sort of work would you want them to do. This way, you can eagerly anticipate when you might be able to hire someone for that role. You might not be able to delegate everything in your "no" column right away, but it can act as a fun wish list for roles you hope to someday fill!
Before you can identify the roles you need to fill in your business team you HAVE TO identify your own personal strengths. As soon as you finish reading this, go take the StrenghtsFinders test. Here’s a super thorough version and a free version. If you’re interested and want to learn more, I highly recommend that you read the book!
I truly believe that if everyone on your team is doing what they’re naturally born to do, you will be even more successful.
And it starts with you.
The StrengthsFinder test helps you identify what responsibilities you’ll naturally enjoy and gravitate towards, so you’re delegating tasks to people who can truly thrive in those roles. I have my whole team take the StrengthsFinder test, and I don’t make a hire until I know the strengths of the person I’m hiring. This way, I make sure that the work I need them to do is work they’re naturally gifted in.
Take some time this week to determine the areas of your business that could be suffering because you’re attempting to tackle this work alone. You cannot afford to wait!
And guess what-- this is just Part I! Check out Part II now and I’ll share how I built my ideal team and what you can do to practically build your business team from the ground up.
To help you build your own team, we’ve created a FREE resource: STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO BUILDING YOU TEAM FROM THE GROUND UP