Top Ten Challenges – Too Close to Your Business that You Can’t See the Wood for the Trees?
For this challenge I’ve turned to Lorna Jackson from Advance and Get Noticed. Lorna has been my Public Relations person for a while now and has been very successful in raising the OFD profile in the local and trade media.
Lorna’s background is in marketing and public relations (PR) in Hampshire, and she has worked with clients in both the private and public sector. This experience has given her a breadth of knowledge which she uses to provide tools and pointers to get you going on your business journey.
Over the past 15 years she has worked with a wide variety of companies, in Hampshire and West Sussex, telling their stories and promoting their products and services nationwide with effective publicity.
I’m going to let Lorna say her piece:
“Too close to your business that you can’t see the wood for the trees?
How often do we hear this and wonder what does it means exactly?
If, like me, you have worked for an employer for most of your working life, then one day you decide to go it alone, there are so many things you need to consider. Although you are an expert in your field, trade, industry you are not an expert in running ‘a business’ and all that entails.
Being able to recognise this at an early stage will save so much heartache and pain. There is always something that needs to be done and prioritising is extremely important if you are going to be successful. Managing your time is crucial in the early days.
I found that joining local networking groups helped, it not only opened my eyes to the world of self-employment and self-motivation, but also introductions to a wealth of professional knowledge in all sorts of aspects of business. From bookkeepers and accountants, to business coaches and strategic planning for my business.
It soon became apparent that I needed help. By building relationships with networking colleagues you can build a network of connections to help you and in time to outsource elements of your business to allow you to be pro-active in building and delivering your products/ services.
Elements to consider outsourcing could be bookkeeping, finance planning also devising processes and procedures to enhance the smooth running of your business. Within any corporate business there are different departments dedicated to elements of the business, Sales, Marketing, HR, Accounts, Legal, Payroll, Public Relations, Customer Service the list goes on.
It’s hard to admit you can’t do it all yourself but once you start to let go of tasks you’re not an expert in and that you find time consuming and irritating, you can actually focus on what you are good at and where your passion can thrive and so can your business.
It’s not long before you also realise that a fresh pair of eyes on your business opens up all sorts of opportunities you hadn’t even thought of or had time to think about. We can become engrossed in the day-to-day running of our business and not actually see where we are missing potential business simply by cross selling, adding value, and building valuable relationships with customers to enlist them in referring you to their network of contacts and friends via testimonials.
‘Can’t see the wood for the trees’, is often referred to when your focus and attention is on the detail and not the bigger picture. This can happen in the early stages of business as your focus is getting the work in, to pay the bills and live.
How many of us take everything that’s offered and work ridiculous hours to deliver, when actually if we were more selective and strategic we could plan for a sustainable income with a better work life balance and still get the income we need working less hours. Working smarter not harder.
I enlisted the help of a business coach in the first six months of my business which helped me to focus and review my business plan and the approach to finding new business. I worked with my coach for a further six months to kick start my sales approach and learn new skills to enable me to maintain a sustainable income. This then freed up time to be pro-active in developing my marketing materials and start to build my reputation.
There is no shame in admitting you can’t do it all, in fact it’s extremely sensible and cost effective to accept it and outsource to experts that you know and trust. This is why networking is so important to build relationships with experts that can help you. Networking is not all about selling to others, it’s about building trust and relationships with others to develop and grow your business. This may lead to doing business together in the future or perhaps making introductions with others which leads to business opportunities.
Opening our minds to suggestions and advice can really help expand your business and grow. Every day really is a school day throughout our lives. Never stop being in pursuit of learning and trying new things, it’s exciting and inspiring.
Remember to take a step back and make time to reflect, as this can also help you be pro-active in your business. Don’t continue to plod and become dissatisfied, isn’t that what happened in your corporate role and caused you to make the decision to leave!
Shake things up, change your working day schedule, be your own boss and take control of your business and make it how you want it to be. How it suits you and your goals in life.
I hope this information helps you on your business journey and reminds you that it’s okay to enlist the help of others who are experts in their field of knowledge.
It’s also okay to admit you don’t know everything and keep that hunger for learning new things alive. Attend conferences, training days and networking events – go with an open mind and soak up the atmosphere and learn from the experience. If you take one thing away from an event it was worth investing the time.”
Go on, ask this of yourself. How often – today/this week/this month – have you found yourself doing tasks you really should have outsourced to others. How often do we literally MAKE work for ourselves just to kid ourselves we’re busy?
It can be a lonely place and a desolate one if you try and do it all yourself and, unless you are superhuman, the important tasks get swamped by the mundane. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt…
Lorna really is a breath of fresh air to PR and I highly recommend her – indeed I already have done to a number of my own clients.
If you would like to talk to Lorna please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Strategic Focus is one of the challenges identified in our Top Ten for Businesses as they Grow – please subscribe (using the form, below) if you’d like to be notified of new posts from small business owners facing these challenges;