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THE QUESTION

I am way too busy to do anything more than what I am already doing. If I take my eye off the ball things will far apart quickly. How can I grow my business? I don't have time to.

THE ANSWER

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You have a product or service that is proving to be valuable in the market. People want it and now you can think about how to deliver it to even more customers.

I'm going to assume that you did not get into this business just to create a job for yourself and that you really want to see your business grow.

With that in mind, it is time to shed the activities that are not what you do best. Doing that will give you an opportunity to grow the business and bring in people who can most help you.

Which activities can be done better by someone else?

The first thing you need to do is to look at activities you are performing that do not add value to the company or that can be done better by someone else. They are likely chewing up more of your time than they should.

I would use some sort of a journal. Just jot down the significant activities that you perform so that you can review them later. It is likely that some of the work you identify can be done better by someone else in less time.

If you are great at selling, then you should consider giving up accounting and leave it to an expert. Maybe production is your specialty and getting in front of customers is difficult for you. It's probably time to hire someone who specializes in sales to help you grow the business. The situation is different for everyone.

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What is important is that you take some time to consider what you are good at and provide the most value and begin to hire people full-time or bring them in on contracts to take over some of the other activities. Drop any activities that have no current purpose – immediately.

But I can't afford to hire more staff!

Instinctively, you will have some objections to this advice:

· You cannot afford to pay someone to perform these other activities

· Some activities require unique knowledge that only you have. Therefore, training a new person will be next to impossible. It will take up too much of your time.

· You don't have time to keep such a journal and review it.

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There is no way to avoid spending time analyzing where you can apply your limited resources to improve your business. To start, you need to take a leap of faith. Spending time analyzing your challenges and training needs is a priority. You will discover that your investment of time will have a huge payback in the future.

Training is often overlooked by business owners because of their busy schedules. It is no secret that the most successful organizations take the time to train their employees well.

Having money to hire is always a challenge for a growing business. The good news is that if you bring in the right people your investment will pay off quickly. Most business owners will keep costs low for the first few people they hire. But if they are the right employeese you will see immediate positive results. I think that hiring people when the need is clear to you is a good practice.

It is important to understand exactly what you want to achieve by hiring people before you begin any recruiting activities. I like to develop a list of accomplishments that I expect from a new hire if they are performing their job well. The more specific you are about what you expect the more likely you will hire the right people for your organization.

It is also important not to rush even though you will feel like you have to.

You need to understand that it takes time to save time. Your success is not accidental. It requires you to think ahead and execute carefully according to your needs and instincts. Ironically, taking the time you need to make these important decisions will ultimately be one of the most significant contributors of success to you and your company.

Have a question for the Globe Small Biz Coach? E-mail smallbiz@globeandmail.com. Anonymity ensured.

Brian Brennan is a senior partner at MAX Potential, an organization committed to assisting clients with the successful growth of their businesses. He actively coaches small and medium size business owners in all aspects of their growing companies.

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