Hands up if one of the following reasons held you back from starting your business or has held you back from striving for more - fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of not having enough, fear of the unknown - even fear of success.
At some point, we all start to feel like we don’t know enough and fear not being able to get started or take our journey to the next level. But there’s a big difference between entrepreneurs who recognise where they need to focus for self-development or to outsource to those who already have the skills and those who try to control/learn/do it all, striving for perfection.
For years, I was the latter. As a full-time beauty blogger, I tried to do the whole process myself - including taking and editing all the photos when hiring a photographer would have been a far better investment of my time, energy and money. As a business owner, I tried to do everything from my branding to admin to marketing to client work - meaning I had to learn new skills in so many different areas, depleting my resources to do a couple of things really well.
The reality is that we all have some sort of resource gap in our businesses. Whether it’s skills or knowledge we’re lacking or availability and money, now is the time to start accepting that we don’t have to do it all alone, even as a small business owner or one-woman-band with a tiny budget and a whole lot of fears. Once you have got started and laid the foundations, you need to regularly take an honest look at your business growth and your capacity to fulfil not only the ultimate vision, but the day-to-day needs of it.
It is always a good sign when a small business has got more work than it can actually keep up with, but it is a shame to turn work away from ideal clients due to you being booked out/not being able to meet the whole scope. In this post I want to share with you some of my favourite ways to deal with a resource gap in your business and help you to up-level anyway.
By not taking any action at all you may find that you are actually holding your business back by trying to do everything yourself and not recognising that there is that resource gap. You need to be able to recognise that either you are taking on too much work yourself or your skills do not match the task. So, what should you do?
GET STRATEGIC WITH RESOURCES
Evaluate what you have available to you and where you can create more of what you need. There’s no point in dwelling on what you don’t have right now, instead focus on what you do or can have by taking action. With everything, you need to plan and reflect to up-level. Once you have identified where there are gaps, you need to assess how much your business relies on or is being impacted upon by the skill, knowledge, availability etc. Things are always changing in your business and you need to look both short-term and long-term with your strategy to resolve this. Consider the return on investment - is it more worthwhile for you to learn this yourself? Would it be better to pass this off so you can prioritise elsewhere? Is it absolutely vital for your vision? Is everybody involved in the best position to fulfil what they are assigned to?
List everything you do and need, then list everything you want to do and will require. For each, determine the best course of action for the greatest ROI. It’s good to leave some room and flexibility in your business for expansion and unexpected circumstances, so don’t try to deal with the whole resource gap at once. Being proactive and identifying potential areas helps you to see the bigger picture but doesn’t mean you need to go implementing tons of changes, leading to overwhelm, confusion and stress.
Once you are aware of the core areas you have a resource gap and whether you really need to be the one that fills them, you can look to do my favourite thing (although I may be a bit biased) and outsource. If you only require assistance for a short while or on an ad-hoc basis then outsourcing is an ideal solution. Leverage the skills and specialist knowledge of others who are more proficient in carrying out specific tasks than you.
From time to time, I outsource too. It could be something I need doing myself (like SEO support from Claire or funnels support from Allie), or a client brief where the SP team doesn’t offer all of the services required. SO many of my clients prefer my honesty when I’m upfront about resources and are willing to bring somebody else on board themselves or trust your connections when you can facilitate a great working relationship for all.
Find out more about what to consider when hiring a Virtual Assistant - this post also has lots of key takeaways whether you’re outsourcing community management, cleaning, web design, childcare, photography or something else in your business or life!
Delegating when you have no managerial experience is pretty terrifying at first. In my 9-5, I often found myself stepping up into a more senior role for days or weeks on end when Teachers and/or Senior Teaching Assistants were off sick/training. For somebody who is an introvert and often gets anxious at the smallest things, doing this actually never felt too much out of my comfort zone but I'd still never had any official experience.
I’ve not really considered myself to be a manager or leader, but rather a facilitator - somebody who likes to empower others to do well. When I first took my mum on as an admin and marketing assistant after her redundancy (following 30+ years of working for the same company!), she had no idea how to navigate the online space. Working for the government, she knew their systems inside out, but working for me was a whole different ball game.
Once I’d educated her, I had to be ok with giving up control and trust her to carry out the task with little to no micromanaging support. I had to get out of the mindset that it would be quicker and easier to do it myself. And I had to be grateful and show this for everything she helped me with.
Delegating is definitely a longer-term strategy - I continue to educate my mum so she can take on more and that we can use our resources for the best ROI. It’s equally as important to find the right person/people to delegate to as it is with outsourcing, but you’re looking for that potential to fulfil or reduce the resource gap over a period of time.
CREATE A WAITING LIST
For this one, I want to hand over to some of the best resources I’ve come across on this topic:
- Creating and Keeping Up With a Client Waiting List
- How I Grew My Waiting List to 250 Prospective Clients
- How to Fill Up Your Waitlist
The truth is that some businesses and individuals struggle, especially in those first few years or when they want to up-level. You may have a signature product or service people can’t wait for because it truly meets a need, but fear, skills and knowledge or time and money available to invest just outweigh the ability to actually do any more. Even if you only have one enquiry right now and don’t have the capacity to take this client on, then you need a waiting list you can nurture.
Your waiting list can be broken down into two or more segments - those who are ready to work with you as soon as you have the resource and those who are interested in working with you but have some barriers themselves. These are your hot and warm leads. Creating a waiting list helps not only you but them too, as it opens up an opportunity for you to overcome any hesitations they have while you strategically figure out resource on your end.
CREATE PASSIVE INCOME STREAMS
The best way to be able to support more people and make your business less reliant on you as a resource, is by having multiple income streams. The only way to do this really is to venture into passive income or by creating an agency/SME model for your business.
Passive income isn’t ever completely passive, even after the initial investment of time, energy and money. BUT, it eases off the pressure of trying to support every client 1:1. If you validate your product properly and launch it, there is huge potential for your passive income streams to be able to fulfil or reduce all resource gaps.
What immediate resource gaps can you see in your business? Where do you predict there will be issues with resources? What would you most like to achieve when it comes to up-levelling?
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