It’s natural for entrepreneurs to expect that they have to do everything. In many cases they start their business by themselves and can find it difficult to relinquish responsibilities to others. However, an entrepreneur’s time is best spent acquiring and nurturing relationships, not operational tasks.

Over the last few years, several entrepreneurs have discussed with me their frustration with a lack of time needed to get everything done. The reality of running a start-up can be overwhelming due to so many operational tasks requiring someone’s attention. Furthermore, entrepreneurs often believe that they cannot afford to hire people to help with operations and usually remain a one-man team. This challenge often leads to intermittent work and inconsistent income. Businesses simply cannot survive without a consistent revenue stream, which requires a flow of projects or sales.

An entrepreneurs time is best spent acquiring and nurturing relationships, not operational tasks.Dr. Bruce Dunams

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that business development is critical for a business to survive and should be led by the leader of the organization. Nurturing relationships and expanding the network of the organization is a more critical responsibility of a company leader than working on internal work efforts. If you do not have a pipeline of customers, how do you generate the income needed to maintain operations? Therefore, I highly recommend that owners pay more attention to customers, both acquisition and maintenance, than on operational tasks.

A myth that many entrepreneurs have adopted is that no one else can do the work like them. However, skills can be taught to others. Since people generally want to do a great job, you’ll find it easy to gradually reduce your involvement in operations. And fear of quality shouldn’t be a reason to avoid hiring employees because you can still review work efforts prior to distribution. Focus on your customers, not on doing the work.

As an entrepreneur, I understand the stress of this challenge, but worked through with the help of a few resources. Being that I am a project manager by trade, I sought a tool to keep operational flow and accountability visual. There are a lot of mobile applications to select from, but I recommend finding free tools such as Slack or Podio when you’re getting started for communication and task tracking. This allows you as a leader to check in and verify progress while maintaining focus on business development efforts. I also recommend a couple of quick reads: if you want it done right, you don’t have to do it yourself and delegating effectively: a leader’s guide to getting things done. Of course, there are many books that can help, but these were two that worked for me, so I’m passing them on. The point is that there are resources to can support entrepreneurs in their efforts to be more effective business leaders and we should not be apprehensive about using them. Remember, the goal is to operations moving while strengthening the pipeline for business. 

I hope this bit of insight helps you in your journey towards your successful destination. Best of luck to you!

Successful entrepreneurs have expansive networks and tap into amazing resources. If you are an entrepreneur or head of an organization that has found a challenge you just cannot seem to overcome, reach out to us at The Innovative Advisory Firm. We know your plight because we are entrepreneurs also. Let us fill in the gaps where many MBA programs, capacity-building workshops, and master classes don’t quite get it done. Feel free to request a 15-minute consultation through our website or our social pages.

The Innovative Advisory Firm is a management consulting practice that specializes in strategy development, organizational assessments, and capacity building. Dr. Bruce Dunams is a global consultant who often shares his thoughts and notes to assist entrepreneurs, small business operators, and SME’s with both common and complex business challenges.

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