January 11, 2017
As you well know, being an entrepreneur is not as fun and hip as many magazines and tv shows make it out to be. It’s a lot of darn-hard work and a lot of stress when everything is riding on your shoulders and your decisions. And no matter how well run your business is or no matter where it is in terms of start-up versus growth, there will always be a few things that drive you absolutely crazy in your business.
I’m talking about the things that just make your jaw clench when you think about them. Maybe it’s your bookkeeping. Maybe that’s the thing that you dread doing and put off as long as possible. Maybe it’s calling retailers to find out when those overdue checks they promised you will be mailed. Maybe it’s dealing with inane customer questions (cause let’s be honest, as much as we love our customers there are always a few who drive us batty).
Over the holidays I was talking with a businessman who leads a small group and we got on the subject of those things that drive you crazy and, in all honesty, suck time and energy away from other aspects of your business. This man challenged me to change the paradigm. By this, I mean, he said to make a list of those things that drive you nuts – categorizing them from ‘most nutty’ to ‘least likely to make me want to pull my hair out’ – and start thinking of ways to change those ‘most nutty’ things so that they’re no longer a problem. What was really insightful though was his challenge to really look at the problem with fresh eyes and don’t discount any idea until you’ve thought it through entirely.
In some cases, your best bet may be to outsource the thing that drives you nuts in order to better focus your time on the other aspects of your business. The bookkeeping example is a great one for this. If you really hate bookkeeping it is far better to outsource that to someone who loves it (believe me, there are people who do!) because it’s too important to your business to do wrong or – eeek! – not to at all.
If you find that you’re having trouble collecting money from retailers, you may decide – after sifting through a number of ideas – that you will collect credit card information for all retailers even if they are paying you by check. Alert them in advance to the fact that if an invoice is X days late in payment then you will be charging their credit card + a certain amount for credit card fees. Alternatively, if you’ve built it into your pricing model you may want to offer a certain discount on the invoice for retailers who pay via check within X days so that it incentivizes them to pay quickly and save money.
And maybe if inane customer questions are driving you crazy, you can think of a way to publicize the answers to the most asked questions to perhaps cut down on some of those.
No system is perfect and a little ‘craziness’ will always still get through. But rather than spend another year frustrated with certain aspects of your business, spend some time to figure out what drives you nuts the most and how you might be able to change the paradigm on those things.
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