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In Seth Godin’s new book “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?“, he says that new benefits sometimes lag behind old pain.
There comes a time in your business where you experience growth or change. You think you have everything running along smoothly, and then the real work begins when everything is turned upside down. You want to take advantage of new opportunities, but in order to do that, you have to adjust your systems, support and tools to accommodate that growth and expansion.
Old Pain: Incomplete and Outdated Systems
You know you need to do it. You hear it all the time, “You have to put systems in place to support your business and streamline your work so that you’re more productive, and so that you can outsource and delegate lower level tasks.” It makes sense in your mind, but it just doesn’t seem to be a top priority in the early stages of your business. Instead, you concentrate your efforts on figuring out how to navigate the often confusing path of the small business owner, while spending the rest of your time trying to find new customers and clients.
Before you know it, though, your business starts to take off, and then the pressure really starts setting in. You’re still figuring your way around, you’re trying to maintain your current lead generation efforts, but now you have the added workload to boot. There’s just no time left to worry about creating systems now, except that the further things go, the more desperate you become, and you start feeling like you’re digging your way out of quicksand.
Old Pain: Little or No Support
Most small businesses have to keep things very lean during the beginning, but it doesn’t take long to get used to managing things solo, leaving you strapped for time and thinking you’re the only one who can get the job done.
Then, of course, because you never had time to create systems around your business, everything is a jumbled mess. How will you ever figure out what best to delegate? Even if you wanted to outsource some of your work, where would you start? Without clearly delineated roles, hiring help would seem like a waste of time and money. You’d only end up doing the work yourself or not having anything for the new assistant to do.
The only problem is, there’s only so much you can do on your own, and at some point, you’ll come to the end of the line of your availability, which will mean the end of the line for your company’s growth as well.
Old Pain: Few Tools in Place
There are so many tools available to make the life of a business owner easier, but in the beginning, several things can get in the way of you taking advantage of them. Money is tight, and with such a small workload, it just seems to make more sense to do it yourself, rather than paying for something that you’ll barely use.
As your business grows, you start thinking you might want to get a few tools in place to cut down on your administrative time, but by then, you think that you’ll get things done faster if you just just keep doing them as you’ve always done. By the time you realize you really need them, you’re worried that implementing new tools could cause you to lose valuable information or time, should there be glitches in setting them up.
They don’t call them growing pains for nothing, but as hard as it is to interfere with the delicate arrangement of your business in order to put new systems, support, and tools in place, it’s important to have the faith and, as organizational and productivity guru Julie Morgenstern would say: let go so that you can grab hold. By letting go of things temporarily, you’ll be able to get a better handle on them for the future so that your business can handle the growth that’s coming your way.
What “old pains” are holding back your growth potential, and how are you overcoming them?
Photo by Flickr user doug88888, licensed under CC BY 2.0.