As owners of small businesses, we too easily try to be a jack of all trades, we do too much. I certainly made this mistake in the early days however over the years I’ve seen examples of both good and bad business practices.
When I founded Aptus, virtual assistants weren’t in abundance and certainly weren’t as commonly used as today. As a start-up business owner, I had to either hire staff, appoint external businesses to provide services or do it myself. I’d not utilised external funding or investment therefore I took the option to do most things myself; marketing, admin, recruitment; payroll; you name it, I did it!
Understanding our skillsets is key to being efficient and enjoying what we do in our working life. We have natural skillsets which we are born with or potentially pick up via life experiences. We also have transferable skillsets which we learn via schooling or training. Transferable skills can tweak or further our knowledge however they cannot and should not detract from our natural skillsets. We must stick true to our purpose.
We found a business or get to where we are in a field because of our expertise, our strengths. When we become business owners or leaders this shouldn’t necessarily change. An example is my strengths are in building a brand, telling a story and building trust with people however the more I was removed from this the less success the business would have. I needed to recognise my strengths and my true role as a leader, showing the value I can add rather than sitting behind a desk or computer doing accounting, IT or reports etc.
In recent years I have seen several examples of success, where start-up business owners have utilised a virtual assistant or temporary staff member to do the things the owner was better NOT doing. The owner had recognised where their time was best spent, maximising a return on time, playing to their strengths. Unfortunately, I also still today see mistakes being made by new business owners and even more alarmingly I see this in owners who have been operating a long time.
To me the lesson is clear, play to your strengths and focus on where our time is best spent. We must utilise the right people with the right skills. Whether it be permanent staff, temporary / contract staff, virtual staff or external service providers; we must utilise people who can do a better job than us at certain tasks. We can’t do everything and frankly we aren't great at everything!
Lastly, don’t ever be afraid of hiring people with stronger skillsets than us. Great leaders build great teams of talented people. Its how we empower them to be their best which keeps them motivated.