Coffee Break

Is Your Business Wasting Your Most Precious Commodity… Effort?

Every SME in the world is a testament to the indomitable nature of the human spirit. Each and every small to medium sized business out there represents a person or group of people who shook off the tedium of their day jobs and decided to take their careers, their futures and their livelihoods into their own hands. This decision was not an easy one to make and the journey of turning an idea on a piece of paper to a working enterprise was likely a long and arduous one. Entrepreneurs invest an extraordinary amount of capital time and effort to get their projects off the ground. But when the businesses are up and running are they a little more forthcoming with that effort than they really should be?

Image by Flickr

It’s an unspoken rule that entrepreneurship requires a lot of hard work, long hours and personal sacrifice. While dedication to one’s business is always commendable it’s important to recognize that you only have so much to give. If you keep squandering your efforts without looking for simpler solutions it may well lead to burnout. The following will ensure that your efforts go where they should…

Learn to delegate

Entrepreneurs are extraordinarily resourceful and self sufficient people, but while this is always among their greatest strengths it can also be one of their greatest weaknesses. Entrepreneurs have the enormously self destructive habit of trying to do everything themselves and while this may be noble in its intent, it can be extremely counterproductive. Learning to delegate is an important part of management, and one that entrepreneurs do well to embrace.

Delegating your responsibilities among your employees empowers them and brings variety and challenge to their jobs, thereby potentially increasing productivity. It will also strengthen your employees’ faith in you as you have demonstrated your faith in them. Thus, you can play to your strengths while allowing your employees to broaden their skillset. And that’s the mark of a great boss.

Invest in the tools that will save you time and effort

All entrepreneurs, but especially nascent entrepreneurs are conditioned to keep their overhead costs down to a minimum. While all businesses should think long and hard about where they put their money, it can be counterproductive if you’re too hesitant about spending.

Capital investments in new equipment, software and hardware can increase productivity while lightening the load for you. Making your processes more efficient, be it through the use of HRMS or increased automation can save time, effort and money in the long term. With the added bonus of helping you to claw back a little work / life balance.

It’s okay to outsource

The same ever watchful eye on the purse strings that makes entrepreneurs skittish about capital investments can also become an impediment when it comes to outsourcing. “Why pay to outsource something I can do myself?” you might counter. But just because you can do something yourself doesn’t mean that you should. There are some areas like HR or digital marketing where small businesses actually make long term savings by outsourcing. Since spending on digital marketing generally yields a more than healthy ROI it’s a prudent investment whichever way you look at it.