Every Entrepreneur knows that time is everything. When you are launching your vision, there are simply not enough hours in the day to do everything on your list. Your desk is never clear. You are doing everything yourself. For many, you have been in a work environment where there were people to whom you could hand off tasks. It was someone’s job to make sure that the bills got paid, that books were kept, that product or services got to customers, that invoices got sent out, that complaints got handled with calm efficiency, that supplies were ordered, that taxes and payroll got paid on time, and that the garbage got taken someplace and the floors were vacuumed or mopped.
It’s all about YOU
For most Entrepreneurs you are the entire team. Many of the responsibilities are new to you. For most of the tasks you have neither training nor experience.
The good news is that you are not afraid to learn. You will try, you will make mistakes, you will learn from those and be willing to change course. But there are other pitfalls that can derail the business.
The best management is the one completely focused on supporting the people on the front lines. But if you are both the management and the front line, how you spend every minute matters. Time is literally money. Just like you have planned the way in which your product will be created and delivered, you also need to plan into that calculation the time it will take for book keeping, supply sourcing, ordering, inventory, bill pay, filing your taxes and the mountain of tasks that keep your business able to legally operate.
Entrepreneurs tend to be self-reflective in approaching work. Hyper-critical of every step of your process, sometimes it is easy to forget how very important it is to view your product from the customer’s perspective and to understand what it is they think is most vital about interacting with you. Where is the competition for your customers? What can you do to better communicate with your customers?
Careful what you promise
Every debut in its own time. Be careful about selling a product you do not have! Every sale should be a home run. Never over promise what you can do or how quickly you can turn a project around for someone. Manage customer expectations so that nobody is disappointed.
The disaster of mind reading
The business can not be successful if you expect those trying to help you to guess what your expectations are. It takes time to bring people along on your scale and vision, but not specifically telling them what you have in your head leaves them unable to support you.
Remember that it is extremely rare for someone to deliberately set out to do a terrible job. When your team starts to fail, it is most likely because you are running in too many directions at once and they are unable to prioritize the bits and pieces of the ideas and instructions you are leaving in your wake.
Watch your vision
As you develop your business, you will quickly see other opportunities and places to spin off or even begin to dream of different types of businesses. That’s how you roll. It is a hallmark of the Entrepreneur. It is important not to get distracted and begin to chase shiny objects or side businesses before you have your first business securely launched.
As soon as your possibly can, hire experts to do the things you don’t know how to do. It is important that the minutes of your day be spent doing what you know how to do best and that the tasks that you struggle with be turned over to someone else.
Square pegs and round holes will never work. Be ready to be nimble and make changes in every direction when your current path is not working.
You are not all things for all people. Be careful about trying to serve a customer with a product you do not actually have. You may be able to pull it off, but you will spend a lot of time playing in a sandbox that is not your primary market. You will never be able to charge enough money for what it will cost your business to absorb off core business work assignments.
You can never be successful without a community of help. Entrepreneurship can be isolating. It is up to you to surround yourself with people who can help mentor, offer expertise, experience and even sweat equity. Listen to everyone and embrace divergent views and opinions that do not agree with your own. Solicit advice from all sectors of your business from your contracted services to suppliers to customers to end users and most especially from your own team.