Small business owners commonly work staggeringly long hours and face an incredibly diverse set of responsibilities. Keeping operations running, managing clients, working with investors, and intervening to handle everyday emergencies can easily keep both entrepreneurs and their budgets exhausted. Unfortunately, this is only a recipe for bare survival, not success.
Startups and small businesses ultimately depend on their ability to innovate and disrupt in order to establish themselves and to compete against more established businesses. This puts entrepreneurs in a tough position. They need to prioritise providing great service and handling all of the challenges of the day to survive in the short term, but they also can’t afford to neglect development if they hope to make it in the long run.
Delegate to make time
Unfortunately, the sense of responsibility that many startup owners feel for every aspect of their business often leaves them with the sense that they should actively administer all of these issues themselves. This can be very problematic, because it can lead to major bottleneck problems that leave business owners frustrated and overworked, and ultimately make businesses slower and less efficient. There simply isn’t enough time in the day for entrepreneurs to handle everything themselves. Moreover, a business owner who is particularly gifted as an administrator and manager might not have much of an aptitude for technical product development, resulting in more inefficiencies.
To ensure that time and energy is being devoted to innovation, business owners absolutely need to delegate effectively. This could mean putting someone in charge of research and development, or taking on that role themselves while delegating other tasks in order to make time for it. The distribution of labour isn’t the issue, but rather explicitly making time for focusing on and addressing long-term goals without neglecting daily operations. Once responsibilities are properly divided between an appropriate set of competent administrators, a business can safely divide its focus to manage a far more diverse set of issues.
Invest in development
Entrepreneurs, of course, don’t just work 80 hours per week because they think it’s a fun way to spend their time. Delegating tasks often means hiring more staff, and beginning to establish more vertical structure in your business. That, in turn, is likely to require some additional investment. Finding new investors can be tricky if your business doesn’t already have new ideas and growth opportunities to offer. As a result, business owners may instead be forced to rely on other financing options.
Very risk-averse business owners might shy away from relying on financing to pursue growth, but that is often a mistake. Innovation doesn’t happen spontaneously, and businesses need to invest in themselves if they want to generate new ideas and put themselves in a position to disrupt. That innovation can then be applied to attract the investment needed to continue growth and to pursue further research and development.
Accessing the funding you need
There’s more to financing growth than just deciding to do it. There are a lot of different options, and getting the right kind of financing is critical to your success. Understanding exactly what will suit you best can be difficult, and it’s often best to work with a representative from your financial institution to come up with the best solution for your particular goals. The more information you can come up with and offer about what you want to do, what you expect it to cost, and what kind of timeline you’re working with, the more that consultant will be able to help. Those specifics can differ wildly depending on your industry, your existing structure, and a hundred other factors.
The best choice is always to consult with a financial professional, but there are more generic options that business owners can access if they’re in a hurry. For example, a good option for small businesses who need access to a flexible source of financing is a business line of credit. Lines of credit don’t work like regular loans in that you’re only responsible for paying interest on your current balance, instead of on a predetermined loan amount. This makes them an excellent option for businesses who aren’t sure exactly how much funding they’ll need, or who only need to smooth over some irregularities in their revenues in order to put their plan into motion.
Entrepreneurs need to put themselves and their businesses into a position that allows them to succeed both in the short and the long term. For small businesses and startups, that means taking a leap, investing, and restructuring themselves into organisations that pursue disruption and innovation with the same energy they spend on their everyday operations.