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Business ownership can be much different after a few months or years in business, especially since most small businesses start small and grow organically.
For example: you bake really good cookies, get many compliments, and hear things like, “I would buy these if they were in a store.” So you begin to explore the idea, decide you can do it and put all of your efforts into getting a business off of the ground. You gain a few clients, and then some more, and now you have a staff and a distributor who is spreading the word creating more potential future customers.
It is getting a bit overwhelming. Your operation is a success by many standards, but the many hats you wear can be too much. You are the HR manager, production supervisor, production staff, you manage the vendors, distributors, and customers, handle shipping logistics, facilities, and of course manage the finances among many other administrative duties.
When this reality sets in, entrepreneurs are already committed financially and emotionally to their business and 60 to 70 hour work weeks are the norm.
The work hours may still be long, but there are ways to focus your efforts in a few areas and outsource others to benefit you and your business. The Willamette Valley is chock full of small businesses that offer business support to fellow business owners.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
• Take some time out to plan your needs. It is very difficult to make a decision for change that has sustainable results under pressure of day-to-day business ownership. A day away from the operation can make all the difference!
• Seek counsel from a qualified business advisor. The Chemeketa Small Business Development Center is your entrepreneurship resource!
• Know what you are good at and attempt to outsource the rest. Cleaning, emptying the trash, landscaping, and window washing, etc. could be on this list not just business support services. If you are doing the things in your business you love, you are more likely to enjoy working the long days and be happier too.
Talk to at least three potential outsource partners. After you select the best one, create a plan with them so there are limited issues down the road.
• Treat your outsource partners as business owners, not employees. Remember you are contracting with an expert so you don’t have to be one yourself.
• Keep control through information. Outsourcing does not mean you give up control. You are simply letting someone else do the heavy lifting for you as you manage the results for what is best for your business.
• Consider the Chemeketa EDGE Business incubator as an option. This incubator specializes in leveraging the power of business support by offering business training, advising, and office space for these types of companies. Here are a few examples of what our current tenants offer: bookkeeping support, translating services, marketing support, and business copywriting services.
The upside to outsourcing services is the ongoing support of other small businesses in the Willamette Valley. That can ease the pressure on you to be all things to all people.