Micropreneur: an entrepreneur willing to accept the risk of starting and managing the type of business that remains small, lets them do the kind of work they want to do, and offers them a balanced lifestyle.
If so, you probably are used to doing everything for yourself. You're like me in that you wear many, many, many, many hats in your business, and you're terrified of what might happen if you had to step out of it for any kind of time period. You're so busy working IN your business, that you never have any time to work ON your business.
Having worked as a virtual assistant to small business owners over the last several years, there is one common element I noticed with emerging micropreneurs. Most come from the corporate world where they were at liberty to perform their expertise while utilizing the assistance of a support staff.
They really enjoyed being able to focus on the task at hand and not have to worry about the little details. They didn't enjoy the bureaucracy of the corporate world and felt a tugging of the entrepreneurial spirit. Thus, they decide to take the plunge and start their own business.
Starting a new business is exciting but these micropreneurs forgot one thing, they were never taught how to perform the day-to-day administrative workings of a business. While working in the corporate realm, they relied on the assistance of a secretary, administrative assistant or office manager to order supplies, process payments, invoice, desktop publishing, etc.
These micropreneurs now trudge along and attempt to perform these tasks all the while getting bogged down in the running of a business administratively, requiring skills and knowledge unrelated to their passion of why they started their business. More importantly, they are not able to focus on the money making aspects of their business, such as client proposals, networking, etc.
To build a successful foundation for your business, you're going to need some documentation. As tedious as it sounds, you've got to write stuff down. Little things that you take for granted or do on autopilot are critical to your business, and if anything ever happened to you, someone will have to take the reigns. The best way for your business to continue without missing a beat is if you've got stuff in writing.
Here are a few of the items you want to document:
Job Descriptions. But wait a minute, I do it all myself, I don't have a staff. That's okay, you can still write up job descriptions. Just think of all the things you do in any given day and write them down as if they were done by someone else. You may even want to write up an org chart, even if your name is in every single slot. Just remember to be as objective as possible.
Document Important Information. This is basically going to be the start of an Operations Manual. Step-by-step guidelines for how to run your business will be the most important item you can have should someone have to take over in your absence or if you decide to sell your business. Make sure you cover all the tasks, even the simplest ones. One of the most common complaints I get is, "I don't have enough time to do everything each day." When I probe deeper, I usually find that a lot of time is wasted trying to remember how something was done in the past. Be sure to include any tasks done by employees, subcontractors, or partners.
Prioritize the tasks. Once you've identified all the tasks that are done, make a list of what's most important to the operation of your business (i.e. will it bring in new clients or revenue). Those tasks are the important ones that YOU need to be focusing on. The ones at the bottom of the list are the ones you want to delegate.
Be your own worst critic. Once you identify your tasks and write them down, try to read them as if you didn't know anything to see if a person with no training in your business could follow them. Ideally, get a close friend or relative to review them and see if they can follow the logic. If they can, great, you did it right. If they can't, review and rewrite.
One last word on building a solid foundation. Watch your budget. One of the biggest mistakes I see in new business owners is making spur-of-the-moment purchases (what stores call "impulse buys"). Whenever you see new technology or a new gadget on the market, review it carefully and list reasons on how it will help you grow your business. If you can't find rock solid reasons, you're probably better off not buying it. At the very least, sleep on it for 24 hours before making the purchase.
Do you feel caught in a catch-22? You need help in the administrative side of your business but you can't afford to hire someone? Angee Robertson understands her clients anxst of being a small business owner because she owns her own business. Her clients refer to her an "administrative partner" because she helps them to focus on what they love while she helps maintain the day-to-day operations. To break the cycle, visit www.diymicropreneur.com.