People typically start a business with what they think is a good idea (including me), they might even have a skill they are going to use as a basis to start that business ie Carpenter, Butcher, IT guy etc but thats where the business skills often stop and enthusiasm takes over.
The business owner then needs to become proficient at all sorts of things such as sales, marketing, HR and legal just to name a few. The problem is, no matter how enthusiastic you are it doesn’t mean you can be good or even average at all of these skills. The next problem is you can’t necessarily afford to pay for all of these people either.
Rock meet hard place.
Starting a business is easy but running a successful (profitable) business is another thing.
Take a good look at your own strengths and weaknesses and use those to define the roles you do think you can cope with and those you just know you are going to be terrible at. For example, if you are no good with numbers, chances are your not going to be the greatest bookkeeper. Once you have made this admission make sure someone is fulfilling the roles required.
Here are 7 tips to help you fill the voids:
1. DO LOTS OF READING. There are millions and millions of useful snippets of information out there and particularly easy to get to on the web. Don’t believe everything you read out there so start with trusted sources such as government websites in your country.
2. Ask your employees if they have any secondary skill you may not know about. Some may be able to take on a dual role and fill the gaps were you are weakest.
3. Do a course or at least buy some books to help you improve on the skills you need. You won’t have to time to do a degree in each skill you need but there are some great courses and books out there but be careful, not everything you read that may have worked for others will necessarily work as well or at all for you.
4. Leverage people you may know in the fields you need help with and see if there is some way you could help each other out. Maybe you could offer some assistance in what you are good at in return for help from them.
5. Network with like minded business owners, its amazing what you can learn from those who are going through the same things as you are. Be open and willing to talk to get the most from these encounters.
6. Get yourself a mentor. Someone who has been in business for a while and can point out the traps and pitfalls. Over time you can use this person as a confidant to share your highs and lows. You’ll find people out there willing to help as they often know and remember how hard it was starting out themselves and are often all too glad to help another along the path.
7. For the roles you absolutely need to make your business successful, don’t be afraid to take on a great employee, partner or outsource to a trusted company to fill this gap. Sometimes you just have to pay to make your business tick. The hard bit is putting your hard earnt cash to the best use.
Let me leave you with a final tip.
Friends and family are often all too eager to give you advice but unless they are in business themselves and have some experience or they are skilled in a specific area “DO NOT USE THEM AS ADVISORS” You wouldn’t or at least shouldn’t take financial advice from your Yoga teacher so tread lightly with advice you get from your eager buddies.