Monday, May 31, 2010

Your Company is Growing....Are You?

Christopher James Conner
Small Business Management – Your Company is growing, Are You?

Question: Am I the only one who started a small business and feel a little bit like a mouse running in circles on a spinning wheel? All of a sudden, my wife hates me, the house chores are piling up, I dress a little more sloppily every day, I have no personal life and I feel a bit more tired every day I get out of bed. I thought entrepreneurialism was supposed to be fun!?! My Business is growing….what am I doing wrong?

I, like many other entrepreneurs have gone through those same feelings and points in my life where I questioned the very idea of running my own company and business. Then I would remember the feeling of waking up every morning and to go back to work for someone ELSE! All of a sudden, those questions went away rather quickly! Entrepreneurialism is a wonderful thing, it is the very fabric of what has made great economies strong and powerful – the small business owner is literally the fuel that drives our global economy. Don’t give up! From my experience, when you have that “Spinning” feeling as an entrepreneur, it is almost always one of two things that are happening. One, your business is growing and it’s time to admit that you need help. There comes that point in any small business when you as the entrepreneur need to open up that pocket book and spend some money on an employee….or outsource some of the functions you are managing yourself. In the short term it may be a small step backwards monetarily, but in the longer term your business and pockets will grow. This may also be an indication that you as a business owner need to expand your own personal mindset and transition into a leader instead of a “star player”. Remember, it is easier to “Do” than it is to “Teach”. The next level of growth and development for any entrepreneur is to train others how to do what you do successfully. My background is in franchising and licensing of business models. I have found that only the most developed, sophisticated and well-structured business models can be franchised successfully. That same train of thought can be followed when considering the truly effective entrepreneurs, the good ones can “Replicate” themselves through their staff and employees.

The second option for why you as a new entrepreneur are getting that “Treadmill” feeling and like you are not getting much done with your time sit hat you aren’t living in the twenty first century with your new business. I have made the same mistake myself in my own businesses, my desk was covered with paper, my hand hurt from writing ferociously all day and I missed scheduled conference calls and meetings because I wasn’t looking at my wall calendar when the time came and went. It just might be time to embrace technology……don’t be scared of it! So put down your Abacus and give technology a chance! Virtually any organizational mishaps you are encountering can be managed by some software platform available on the market today….and most for very reasonable costs, the tools are out there…so use them! If you are having difficulty managing your leads and keeping up with the client contacts, try a web based CRM. Salesforce or ACT! are reasonable fee based systems that cost $400-$700 for a license per user. They will make you feel like you have an extra 2 hours in every day if you are currently using pen, paper and excel spreadsheets! These systems will help you manage your contact lists, call tracking, email records and even do email blasts to potential clients. If you happen to be on the “Frugal” side like myself, there are free CRM’s like Zoho available online that can also do the trick. So you say you can’t manage your schedule with all of the calls and juggling you do throughout the day…try an online calendar system. Microsoft Outlook is probably the most widely used calendar/email system available for a fee. You can easily tie this in with your blackberry or mobile device also so that you can manage your schedule while on the road. If again, you find that the purse strings are too tight to cough up $200, try the Google apps option, calendars, web-based document editing and other options are available and you can keep all of your pennies in your pockets. The point is, every “problem” you are dealing with as a new small business owner has probably been encountered by an entrepreneur before you. Problems create opportunities = and most likely, somewhere someone smarter than you and I developed a technology you can use to help you through it.

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