It’s not a criticism to say that your business needs help – all businesses do! Unfortunately, the sort of personality that’s attracted to the independent achievements of entrepreneurship isn’t necessarily one that’s comfortable with admitting they need some assistance.
Founders often found their own businesses precisely because they want to be able to follow their own path, independently, without having to adapt to other people’s targets and working practices. Unfortunately, this benign, motivating independence can turn into isolation. Running a business successfully needs lots of expertise, and it’s beyond the capacity of one person to provide, even for a small specialised business.
Legal advice, accountancy, Human Resource management, risk avoidance, research, marketing: this is a far from exhaustive list, but it covers some of the areas of expertise you need to run a successful business. You, as a founder, cannot possibly cover all these areas while also being the expert in your own product that your business needs – you need to focus on being the best salesman for what you’re offering, building a list of clients and developing your business, not setting up HR systems.
If you try to be every specialist at once, you will burn out – Founder Burnout is a recognised phenomenon. It’s an extreme stage of stress brought on by taking on too much without respite or relent, while bearing the maximum amount of responsibility. Burnout can take years to recover from – it’s not something you can undo with a single lazy weekend – so if you’re not careful you could be curtailing your career as an entrepreneur.
The good news is, there are plenty of ways to get help for your business, taking the burden of expert learning off your shoulders and freeing you up to concentrate on taking the high-level decisions that will help guide your business forward to success.
The good news is that there is plenty of help available. Specialist agencies, consultants and interim managers all exist, and allow you to important the expert skills you need without the spend of hiring a full time member of staff. Beginning a partnership with a market research firm like Attest means getting consumer data and insights when you need them, rather than a constant, ongoing struggle to interpret the behaviour of your customers yourself when you should be focusing on leading, not minutia. Exercise some critical judgement and some budgeting and you’ll soon build a shortlist of consultants to help lift the weight from your shoulders and drive your business forward.