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Grow Your Business from Solo to Enterprising EntrepreneurSusan L Reid
If you're like most solo entrepreneurs, you're running a business that is primarily a party of one.
One-person businesses are very common, especially for women.
It's not that women aren't thinking big in terms of dollars; it's that they are not so big on managing people. Instead, they'd rather focus on their passion and on getting their passion-turned-product or -service out into the market to make other people's lives better. Because of this, most women don't seriously consider growing their business beyond the solo point.
Think for a minute of what it would be like for you as a woman business owner to be happily focused on your passion-turned-product while pulling in $1 million a year. For many people—¬not only women—¬this would be a perfect life. It certainly was the motivating factor for me!
Too often, though, because women are reluctant to hire even a few, part-time employees, they end up focusing less and less on their passion-turned-product and more and more on managing “the thousands.” Thousands of what? Thousands of emails, calls, requests, details, interruptions, breakdowns, and other things that solo entrepreneurs have to focus on each day just to keep their businesses running.
Turning Employees into Teams
Let's consider the phrase "hiring employees." How would it feel if you reframed this phrase, changing "hiring employees" to "building a team?" Doesn't "building a team" feel much more expansive and exciting than "hiring employees?" It certainly does to me.
Enterprising women entrepreneurs think in terms of building teams. That's because women are natural collaborators. They instinctively move away from the practice of hiring employees because of its top-down leadership implications.
Building a team is a collaborative leadership model that many women easily embrace. Women know the richness of relationships that will result from
That's why enterprising entrepreneurs build teams to manage the day-to-day activities of their businesses and also build partnerships with professional advisors to help them make the most of their personal and business potential.
The Enterprising Entrepreneur Team
Does building a team sound as good to you as it did to me when I first started thinking about taking my business to the next level? If so, I bet you're wondering whom you'll need to have on your management team, and whom you'll need to have on your professional advisory board. Your enterprising entrepreneur team should include the following:
Your team starts with you at the top. You are the Chief Executive Officer of your business. Yes, the CEO. If you're thinking about taking your solo business to the next level, the first thing you'll need to do is start thinking like the CEO of your enterprise.
You don't have to be running a big business to think like a CEO. Just reframe the term CEO so that it works for the enterprising entrepreneur. When you do, then the CEO becomes the top-level woman responsible for the operations of her business. For the operations of her business. Not for operating her business. Instead of doing it all, you'll be putting a team together who will manage the operations of your business for you.
Are you clear on that difference?
2. Virtual Assistants
Virtual assistants now become your management team. I recommend placing two of them on your team. One to manage the administrative aspects of your business and the other to manage the technical.
How many hours they work each month and what they manage is entirely up to you. Consider starting with 10 hours per week and increase it from there as you become more comfortable having them on your team. Soon, you will see how freeing and necessary it is to have them, not you, manage the thousands of details that come across your desk each month. That's what I did.
You probably already have a working relationship with the three main people who will make up your professional advisory team: your tax advisor, insurance advisor, and legal advisor. Most women entrepreneurs have a CPA in place to do their personal and business taxes, an insurance agent in place for their car, home, life, and business insurance, and an attorney in place for their personal and business legalities.
The next step to becoming an enterprising entrepreneur is to turn these business advisors into your business strategists. Instead of meeting with them once a year to get your taxes done, to review your policies, or when questions come up, meet with them more often.
Begin this week. Make an appointment with each of them to talk about your business. Share your vision and plan for your business and inform them that they are now on your team. Let them know that you'll be meeting with them quarterly to discuss your business and strategize about its growing needs.
If you are a solo entrepreneur thinking about taking your business to the next level, a little reframing of your thinking is in order. First take responsibility as CEO for the operations of your business. Then gather the right people around you to support your success. Rather than having to “hire employees”, focus instead on “building a team.” Follow the suggestions in this article and you will soon have the three key team components necessary for taking your solo business to the next level.
Start now to become the enterprising entrepreneur you know you can be.
Copyright © 2009 by Susan L. Reid
Copyright ©2009 by Susan L. Reid, DMA
Intuitive small business start-up expert Dr. Susan L. Reid is the award-winning author of Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman's Journey to Business Success, and business coach and consultant for entrepreneurial women starting up home-based business for the very first time.
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