I want to share some useful insights I’ve had from speaking to dozens of business owners recently- some entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed when others cope just fine. Those that are doing well all have one thing in common, that is the subject of this article.
I have hundreds of friends and associates with property businesses – including myself. Since COVID kicked in, we have been inundated with dealing with cancellations, arrears, and issues with development projects falling through.
Right at the time when the business owner needs to focus on saving the business, those that haven’t systemised their processes or who are still doing everything themselves are being overwhelmed by admin. This means they are getting squeezed from both sides- reduced income and a lack of time to do anything about it.
While some entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed, there are those that have outsourced their day-to-day operations and are able to cope much better, as they have the headspace and time to think and react. Without a team to do the work of your business, you can never take time off, never truly relax on holiday, and as I’ve just described, you will be hit hard at when the unexpected happens.
You quickly become the bottleneck and the single point of failure.
Also, if you are doing all the work, you are your business, you’re gonna have a hard time selling your business when you want to exit as investors aren’t going to be too keen on buying a company that relies on the owner to do everything – it just doesn’t make sense.
Maybe your goal is to leave a legacy. If it is, make sure it’s a legacy that your kids actually want! If they’ve watched you work yourself half to death and be an absent parent as a result, do you think they’d be keen to take over the reins?
I’ve definitely been guilty of putting my work before my family and friends in the past.
If you don’t build a team, you will be trapped in a prison of your own making. Your team is the key to set you free.
Despite all the reasons why growing a team is essential to your business and your own well-being, a staggering 76% of all businesses in the UK have no staff.
Why is that? Why do most business owners fail to get help?
They believe they are:
- Saving Time
- Saving Money
- Are scared of letting go
- Don’t believe anyone could do their work for them
- Or they simply don’t know how or where to find affordable, talented staff and how to manage them effectively. I was guilty of thinking all of these things. Maybe you can relate to some of these too? I blame the lack of a good team as the major reason I was on the brink of bankruptcy by the age of 26. It was 2006, and I’d been building my property portfolio for 4 years. I’d sunk everything into the latest development project when I ran out of money. I was forced to move back in with my parents, lived off credit cards and used overdrafts and loans to pay suppliers and labourers.
When the day finally came to get the project approved so I could refinance the property and pay off my debts, I was excited, to say the least.
That excitement turned into horror when the building inspector refused to sign off the development.
I’d failed to meet certain fire regulation standards, and the property was deemed as unfit for purpose. It was going to take thousands of pounds that I simply didn’t have to make right.
I can remember the moment so clearly- where I was stood, what the weather was like, and the sick, churning in my stomach as what should have been the happiest day of my business’ journey suddenly turned into the worst.
I had no way to pay off my debts, and the interest was mounting up.
After weeks of stress and sleepless nights, I eventually did get the approval I needed. I was able to remortgage the property, clear my debts, and save my business.
I was lucky, but many business owners aren’t.
A major factor in this venture going wrong was that I was trying to do everything myself so I ended up overwhelmed. I made too many mistakes and just didn’t have the time to focus on the important stuff.
One of my biggest reasons for not growing a team was a lack of cash. Hiring UK-based staff wasn’t an option. Like most self-funded startups, I just didn’t have the money.
After nearly 16 years as a one-man band, I finally hired my first virtual assistant about 4 years ago.
That was a turning point in my business and my life. I now have an established team, based in the Philippines, that run all my day-to-day operations, leaving me to focus on leading my company and sharing my knowledge with anyone who cares to listen (thank you for listening!).
Like most companies, since COVID we have seen a squeeze on our revenue and we’ve had to turn all our attention to creating new content and services to help people get through these challenging times. In doing so, we’ve increased our sales by providing value to our clients.
At the same time, we’ve also downscaled our team.
Because we have robust systems, this has been a relatively painless activity for us as a business, despite it being one of the hardest things we’ve had to do emotionally, as we had to let some great people go. Thankfully, we managed to find jobs for everyone with our clients, so no one ended up losing their income! 🙂
Also, since we have great systems, our remaining team is still able to run all of the day-to-day operations to allow me to focus on income-generating activities.
If we didn’t have the team and systems in place to cope, we’d be in serious trouble right now. Instead, we are positioned to come out of this stronger and more profitable than we went in.
I feel incredibly lucky that I figured out how to create systems and work with remote teams that live in countries, where the cost of living means we can pay just a few pounds per hour for highly talented workers and still give our staff a great quality of life.
Working with Virtual assistants and creating systems and automation has saved our business during these challenging times.
If you’ve not already done this, now is the perfect time to get started so you can outsource your admin and focus on generating income and taking advantage of the new opportunities as they arise.
I’ll be sharing more content soon about how you can easily make the transition to building an affordable remote team soon, so keep your eyes open for my next few posts.
Until then, I wish you all the best.
Please feel free to get in touch if you need help.