Owning a small business is never easy. There are countless problems to solve, and they all end up on your desk. Whether it is the business’ taxes, customer complaints, or a payroll issue, you are expected to be the expert and fix all the issues. This is the case, it does not matter what kind of business you are in. And of course, all this problem solving has to happen while you’re dealing with all the business’ regular issues.
Of course, every different type of business brings its own challenges. For instance, the owners of many different kinds of professional service businesses struggle to extract themselves from the day to day operations of their companies. The brand itself comes to be so closely associated with their name that customers come to expect them to be the one that provides whatever services they are buying.
This is the case for many kinds of prestigious careers. Consider the case of an accountant or a lawyer. Their business requires them to be the ones providing the services, and the only ways to make money often requires a direct input of work. An hour worked means an hour paid, but there is often not a product to sell that provides any kind of recurring revenue. This makes these sorts of businesses difficult to scale. Even if you are able to hire other practitioners in your specialty, it is still difficult to escape the need for billable hours.
We spoke with an orthodontist in Calgary to learn more about this dilemma. Their practice provides all sorts of different types of orthodontic care. In addition to Invisalign and braces, they also do regular dental work as well. As one of Calgary’s premier orthodontic providers, they are always on the top of their game.
While their business has been able to scale up, it is not without its challenges. She still provides regular orthodontic care to her patients, and this keeps her busy most hours of the work day. Of course, this is on top of making all sorts of different business decisions. As stated above, as the owner of a small business, you are the one who has to handle everything. Even business functions that aren’t directly involved in the operations of the business become your problem. You have to market your services and sell them to different people.
This can be extremely challenging for professionals. Just imagine – you went to school and went into business in order to be whatever specialty you chose, not a marketing or business professional. Business is not necessarily the area of your specialty. While some schools are beginning to offer basic business training in these kinds of programs, it is still difficult to learn so many different aspects of running a business on the fly.
Advice for Small Business Service Providers
The best piece of advice we can provide is to learn what your time is worth. If you can bill your services out for $100 an hour, it doesn’t make sense to try to do your own marketing work if you can hire it out for $60 an hour. Of course, this assumes that you are able to fill your plate up with work. It is also important to consider the quality of work you will get for your money. While no one cares about your business quite like you do, sometimes a firm that specializes in whatever task you need done will be able to provide a better product than even you yourself.
It is also important to learn what you can learn and realize what is outside your skillset. If there is some skill that would help you run your business that you could pick up with little effort, it probably make sense to do that. For instance, if you are an attorney that already had some training in tax law back in college, you might be able to easily learn how to handle your own taxes. If you are someone who has never been exposed to this topic, it is probably worth it to hire it out.
The challenges of running a small business are never small. There is always work to be done, so unless you are able to pull yourself away from it and keep things in perspective, you might never get to relax. If you are a professional struggling to manage all the different challenges confronting your business, you need to know that there are resources out there for you. If you are located in the United States, the Small Business Administration has many resources for you. Canada has similar programs as well for their entrepreneurs. It is important to know that you are not alone and that you can find help for whatever problems you are facing.