When you start out in business, you soon realise that you have to perform many roles in order to get things done. These include: administration, marketing, IT helpdesk, finance, PR, website, technical help, etc. It can soon feel very overwhelming with everything that you do need to do.
Doing everything yourself is fine to begin with, but if you really want to build your business and take it to the next level, you need to learn to let go of some of the routine tasks, to give you time to focus on more important ones.
One of the keys to building a family friendly business is to build an amazing support team
A lot of people don’t expect me to say this but a support team is your secret weapon. It is amazing. To be honest, it’s a smart way of working because you have to take care of the marketing and strategy for your business as well as the work that your customers pay you to do.
There’s loads of people you can have on your team (for your business AND home life), think about the following as the essential team members to bring on board first:
A virtual assistant (VA) is a self-employed professional providing administrative, secretarial and creative services on a remote basis. Working from their own fully equipped offices, VA’s work with a variety of different clients helping them in their businesses on an ad hoc, regular or individual project basis.
Outsource your routine administration so that you can focus on product creation and marketing activities to build your business.
This doesn’t need much explanation!
As busy mums, we have so much ‘stuff’ to do for our family, never mind adding a business to the mix. Getting a cleaner may sound like a luxury but I say it is essential as it will free up a lot more time than you realise so you can get your business moving.
If you don’t want to get a cleaner, at least get somebody to do your ironing. I have a local lady come to collect and deliver mine every two weeks. I know exactly when she is coming so that everything is ready for her.
I always tell my clients that childcare must be the first type of support you need to bring on board as you need some dedicated no child zone time to work on your business. Even if it is only a few hours a week, it is something that you need to look at quickly.
If you have children of any age, regardless of what their age is, you realise how distracting they can be and why it is difficult to run a business and look after them at the same time. You can’t do it. It’s simple. This is why having good childcare is essential to your success. Even if they go to nursery for a couple of days a week or a couple of afternoons or if you got somebody who can come in and look after them (even if it’s just one afternoon a week). Whatever it is, you need some form of childcare to give you the dedicated time and energy you need to focus on your business.
My oldest daughter she goes to school five days a week and then my youngest daughter she goes to pre-school for three days a week from September. They go to the same place so its only one drop-off and I’ve arranged for my youngest to go to after school care so I can pick her up the same time as my eldest after her after school club or homework sessions. It’s good. I know on those three days I have those set specifically that I can spend between 9.15am until 4pm doing what I need to do. It might be phone calls. It might be client work. It might be training events or networking events. Those days are really good.
Obviously, this is going to change when baby number 3 makes their appearance but at least I’m in a routine with the other 2!
Delegating Made Easy
When you are delegating anything, more so from a business point, you need to set clear deadlines and priorities. When you’re delegating a task, set the deadlines and then prioritise the task for the person doing the work so that they are in no illusion what they need to do, when they need to do it and what is the order that they need to do them. If they’ve got a big list of stuff to do, what are the must do items first.
Give them clear instructions and information. If you’re not clear, then this leaves it open for basically anything to happen, misunderstandings, whatever it is, because they could go off on a different tangent to what you wanted. Be clear and say, ‘this is what I want doing. This is the type of result I want and this is how I want it done.’ They can do it because you’ve given them clear instructions. No misunderstandings and everybody is happy. They get to do the work that you want. You get it in the way that you want it. Everybody is happy. Job done.
When you’re working with freelance staff, you have to realise that they work with other clients, so they have other things already in their work load that they need to do. If you show up and say, ‘I need this done now.’ That’s not fair on them. It’s not fair on the other clients that they’re working with who have given them advanced notice and have been nice and clear.
Think about any deadlines and say, ‘I’ve got this product launch on X date, I need this, this, this, this. Do it in advance.’ Everything can be mapped out on what and when you need to do things, what and when they need to do things. What do you need to sign up? Is there anything you need to create for it? Is there any social media stuff that needs to be sent out that the VA can do for example? Give them advance notice.
To make any delegation easy, you need to remember that communication is key. It really is the key to an effective relationship with those that you delegate work to. It’s a two way process. I suppose the golden rule is to treat people how you would like to be treated. Give them respect. Give them the recognition they deserve. Tell them they’re doing a great job. Tell them if they’ve made any mistakes. You don’t have to be nasty about it. Obviously, they can have that two way process with you. Just make an effort. Keep the lines of communication open. Make it so that you’re easily approachable so if they’ve got any questions or concerns, they can easily approach you.
Your action plan
Who do you need on your support team? Who are you going to bring on board first and when?