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master-delegationOne of the biggest problems I see in my client's businesses is lack of a team to get stuff done.  Many people don't know when is the right time to add new team members.  Today's guest blogger Melanie Benson Strick is the absolute go to person for building effective teams.  Her post today is about when it is time to get the help you need.

by Melanie Benson Strick, America’s Leading Small Business Optimizer

Every entrepreneurs dream is to have a thriving, successful business. But what happens when you grow so fast that you can’t keep up? Maybe you try to hire help to plug the holes but you just can’t seem to get ahead of the curve. Often a small business owner makes the mistake of waiting too long to get the help they need. Whether it’s a “cost control” concern or a result of not keeping your eye on the right balls, waiting too long to expand (or hire your first) team can have a brutal impact on your bottom line, reputation and customer retention.

Here are three of the big signs I see when entrepreneurs ask me to help them make their business run ten times better:

1. Your Email is Out of Control

You have thousands of un-read emails and you’ve decided there is no way to stay on top of it. So you gave up. But the problem is that opportunities keep coming in and now you are missing them. Clients and colleagues are frustrated since they never hear back from you. You might feel better not dealing with the emails but this strategy is bad for business.

The solution: It’s time to hire a virtual (or in person) assistant that stay on top of routine communications on your behalf. At a bare minimum, set up an auto-responder that lets people know that you don’t check your email often and how to actually get a hold of you.

2. You Miss Opportunities

When an opportunity crosses your path you either miss the information completely (because you aren’t checking your email) or you just don’t have the bandwidth to follow through on it. A missed opportunity is more than a revenue loss. When you miss out on high value opportunities because you aren’t on top of your game then you are literally telling the world you aren’t available to grow.  You might rationalize to yourself that it’s okay but because you don’t respond, your leads start thinking you are unorganized, too difficult to do business with, or you just don’t care. Eventually your partners and prospects will stop asking you for your business (or to promote your programs) and the faucet dries up.

The solution: Have your assistant field these requests and evaluate them against a checklist of “green light” criteria. This will help you weed out requests that are a waste of time while accelerating your response time to high value opportunities that will propel you forward. Once the opportunity is “green lighted” have your assistant schedule next steps in your calendar.

3. Mistakes And Breakdowns Occur

Another sign you are under-resourced is when unnecessary mistakes and breakdowns occur. Typically a support team this stretched too thin will make silly mistakes because they are moving fast trying to keep up with an ever-growing list of tasks. Quality is sacrificed for speed. Now everyone makes mistakes from time to time but there is a difference between a random mistake and routine problems. Be sure to evaluate if the breakdowns are a result of lack of training and systems or you have too much on your team’s plate.

The solution: In the Build Your Dream Team program, one of the steps is to evaluate each role in the business operations and determine who owns it. If you have one person owning multiple roles you will most likely start to experience breakdowns after time. Consider getting the role owner a helper or give each person no more than 2 – 3 complimentary roles to work on.

Each of these issues are easy to fix. For most entrepreneurs it’s just recognizing why the problems are occurring. The key is to focus on hiring capable, high caliber talent who frees you up to focus on the bigger vision you have for your business. What most small business owners don’t realize is the biggest opportunity cost in your business occurs when you spend time in the minutia instead of on your future growth.

About the Author: Melanie Benson Strick, America’s Leading Small Business Optimizer, guides fast-paced, creative entrepreneurs to uncover costly profit leaks and implementing simple strategies that generate exponential growth.  Find out how you can accelerate your business results through leveraging other people’s talent at this free webinar, The Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon. Click here to register.