One of the things which struck me most when starting my own business was just how many different things you need to think about and keep track of. Many people have very varied jobs, obviously, but usually within a defined remit. When you start your own business, you are suddenly responsible for not only providing whatever service it is you provide, but you are also the one who has to think about everything else. Company administration, tax and other corporate responsibilities, legal obligations, branding and trademarking, sales and marketing, company values, website administration, accounts, the list is endless.
All of this takes up an inordinate amount of space in your head. Obviously multi-tasking and the ability to keep track of many ‘to dos’ on a list is vital, but there’s only so much mental ‘room’ that can be freed up by writing things down or being well-organised.
Once you get more established it becomes easier. Things are set up and hopefully running relatively smoothly, with any luck you have some regular clients so generating income has become very slightly less stressful, and you will have routines around your marketing and other activities.
The problem is that the early stages of your business is when you need extra headspace the most. It’s all new, and you’re trying to make a professional, confident impression on the many people you are meeting and coming across, and you need your head free for ideas and creativity as well as administration and to do lists.
Reflection on what you are doing and on the huge amount of information coming your way makes a huge difference to the effectiveness of your business growth. We all need the ability to take time to consider how things are going, what needs to change, how we can improve and what strategies would be most effective for whatever stage we are at in developing both ourselves and the business.
One key lesson I learned in the first year of my own business was to outsource sooner than you think you need to, or sooner than you think you can afford to. The logic makes sense – the amount it costs per hour to pay someone else to do things within the business that are not my strength is less than I earn per hour, and by freeing me up to concentrate on client work and marketing, I was able to bring in more clients and earn more fees.
Of course understanding the logic of that and actually taking steps to do it at a time where income may feel too low or unpredictable to justify ‘staff’ are two different things, but it’s worth considering as soon as you feel able to do so. Freeing up the headspace being taking up by invoicing and other admin activities at an early stage was one of the best things I did.
We try and replicate that as far as possible for our consultants, by taking care of a number of different business activities for them. The idea is to free up their time and headspace to grow their businesses and focus on what they do best from a much earlier stage than they might feel able to if they were on their own, and it’s something I’m passionate about.
We all have strengths and weaknesses and we can be much more effective in business the higher proportion of our time we spend doing what we are really good at and excited by. Our creative thinking and client work are both improved by having more room in our head for reflection.
If you’d like to start your own HR consultancy with bags of help and support, do get in touch.