By Justin E. Crawford, author of “Live Free or DIY: How to Get More Customers, Increase Profits, and Achieve Work-life Balance“
Starting a business requires a serious work ethic — but sometimes that’s what holds the business back.
That must sound counterintuitive to most people since entrepreneurs are smart and work hard by their nature. Both of those traits are required to succeed. However, when small-business owners become jacks-of-all-trades out of perceived necessity, it hurts their businesses in ways they aren’t always aware of.
From the small-business owner to the big-time CEO, nobody helps a business by becoming a master of none. The most successful entrepreneurs create an environment where they are able to focus on what they do best.
When small-business owners hear me say all this for the first time, they usually respond with a list of “buts”:
- But if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.
- But I have to do everything myself because I can’t afford to hire someone.
- But it would take too long to train someone so I just do it.
- But I’ve already learned how to do everything, so I might as well keep doing it.
- But nobody cares about my business the way I do.
There are many more “buts” but the “buts” must stop. They are one of the main reasons most small businesses fail. These “buts” eat away at the single most valuable resource you have. It’s the ultimate non-renewable resource: your time.
The secret to harnessing your time is simple. It’s the most powerful three-word business plan in the world and it must become your mantra: Do less, better.
This isn’t about handing off all your work to someone else so you can go to the beach (although that might not be a bad idea if you haven’t spent time with your family in a few weeks). It’s about freeing your vision through the efficiency of passion. We naturally perform better at the tasks we’re most passionate about. That will lead to doing better work, which you have to do because there’s no room for mediocrity in the marketplace.
If you’re not focused on what you care about the most and can do the best, someone who’s more passionate and more focused will swoop in and swallow your market share. The only way to make that room for yourself is to find specialists and build a team that will handle all the hats that don’t look good on your head. There’s nothing lazy about this. It’s a proven method to make your business grow and ways you may not have contemplated before.
I can hear the “buts” again right about now. “But I have a small operation and a thin margin.” Doesn’t matter. “But there’s just no way I can find the experts I need.” Yes, you can. These “buts” may have been true a few years ago, but technology and the gig economy has made it a great time to be a small-business owner.
The most difficult aspect of the “Do less, better” mantra isn’t something you can touch — it’s something you have to feel. You have to trust the people to whom you hand these responsibilities. If you aren’t able to do this, your org chart will forever be upside down. There’s no way to flourish like that. This holds true whether your goal is to grow your company into the next Google or to spend more time with your loved ones. Or, even better: both.
Start today. Let go of a little control and feel how free it makes you to focus on the one thing you do best, the thing that adds the absolute most value to your business. Embrace doing less, better.
Justin E. Crawford is the founder of Agents of Efficiency and author of the international bestselling book,”Live Free or DIY: How to Get More Customers, Increase Profits, and Achieve Work-life Balance“. Justin has been featured in over 200 major media outlets, writing and speaking regularly on the issues of growth hacking and startup & small business operational process refinement.