The importance of building a support system to help you not only build your business but also keep a sane schedule has been on the top of my mind lately because I've been listening to the classic "The E-Myth Revisited." In this self-professed guide to "Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It," Michael Gerber emphasizes the importance of entrepreneurs transcending the "technician" role of doing the work to make sure they fulfill the entrepreneur role of growing and developing the business system.
In light of this reasoning, I've been encouraging myself and other entrepreneurs to get help on as many tasks as possible. (Check out Chapter 8 "Outsourcing Life" in The 4-Hour Workweek for a plethora of ideas.) For a DIY business woman, this can be really difficult, but I've discovered a technique that helps me let go. Basically, I keep a digital "sticky note" on my desktop where I write down everything that I "could" assign to someone else. This ranges from the simple: take packages to the post office, to the complex: transfer Web hosts. Simply having this list keeps me from spending time on simple tasks someone else could do and helps me to psychologically prepare to relinquish control of bigger responsibilities.
Depending on your strengths, your business, and your team, a larger project, like PR, may be a good item to add to your sticky note. Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you should move something like PR off your plate to open up your schedule and strengthen your business:
1. Am I working more hours than I would prefer to work because I am doing PR, marketing, etc.?
2. Do I have a PR plan? (If not, do I have time to make one?)
3. Am I implementing that plan on a consistent basis? (If not, is it due to lack of time?)
4. If I don't have media contacts, do I have time to develop them?
5. Is spending time doing PR the best use of my time? of my staff members' time?
6. If I hear from the media, am I able to promptly meet their needs?
If your work schedule is already overloaded, PR (or other specialized business development activities) might be a great thing to move to your "to contract" list. Hiring outside help can decrease your workload, alleviate psychological pressure if you haven't been doing what you feel you "should" do, and give you the benefit of working with industry experts who already have the systems, contacts, and tools to complete the work efficiently.
Reveal your true business brilliance by deciding not to DIY.
About Real Life E®
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E® a time coaching and training company that empowers individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident and accomplished. She is an expert on achieving more success with less stress. Real Life E® also increases employee productivity, satisfaction and work/life balance through training programs.
McGraw Hill published her first book The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success with Less Stress. Harvard Business Review recently published her second book How to Invest Your Time Like Money. Elizabeth contributes to blogs like Lifehacker, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and the 99U blog on productivity for creative professionals and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox.