Remember that time when your life was easy? The only worry was whether or not your mother would make lunch before or after you went swimming. Now, since starting a small business, we all too often must manage every detail, from the bookkeeping to the search engine optimization (SEO) of our online presence.
However, there is one reality that we all must face. It is the reality that we are all limited in three ways; money, time, and energy. Managing our small business is an exercise in managing our precious resources. If we overspend on any one of the three then it costs us later, oftentimes more than if we were measured in our approach.
It is arguably even more complex when running an ecommerce business. The one benefit over a brick and mortar store is that a single person can operate the entire operation, with or without physical products, completely on their own. This fact lulls us into thinking that we can do everything on our own. For most of us, that is simply not realistic.
So don’t be a Hero
Nobody has super hero abilities, so when a small business owner acts like they can handle everything, reality will eventually show them the truth of the matter. Fortunately, there are solutions to our human weaknesses. We can outsource. Be it an online freelancer or a local temp agency, we do have options. There are sites such as Upwork or Fiverr, where a small business owner can hire out. When things get tough at the local level you can always hire a nearby bookkeeper or inventory specialist.
Think about this; how many different personal email addresses do you maintain, with respect to your business? You probably have more than one or two. If you are like most people in business, you may have a dozen or more, just pertaining to your business. Use the method that works for you, whether it is compiling all of them in Microsoft Outlook, or simply forwarding all your emails to one address.
The important part is that your space is kept relatively organized and the things you need are kept within easy reach.
Our Deluxe Office
Along with keeping our digital space organized, we need to maintain a tidy physical space. After all, we all dream of operating our business from a remote Caribbean beach, drinking our favorite beverage. In the meantime, create a space that is conducive to working. Even if that space also serves as the dining room in your home, it can still be made to function well for an online business. You can turn that dining room table into a fully functioning, executive office suite, with your own nearby refrigerator, by simply adding a comfortable chair and a multi-function printer.
Stick to the plan
Hopefully all of us started out with a plan, typically in the form of a business plan. If there is one mistake that many of us do, it is that we ignore our plan and attempt to grow in a myriad of different directions, without the careful thought and due diligence required to make it work. It is as though we have walked into a grocery store while starving, there are so many possibilities.
Create Patterns of Efficiency
When mountaineer Joe Simpson, of Touching the Void fame, had become snow blind, he had realized that as long as he repeated a pattern in his steps that he could move forward effectively and efficiently. He was able to slowly put one foot in front of the other until finally reaching a point of safety, miles away. His task was to move one step at a time in an efficient manner. That efficiency saved his life. Creating patterns of efficiency can save your business.
All of these suggestions can ultimately save money, time, and energy. Let them serve as a reminder to develop what works for you and discard what does not. Whether they are developing more efficient patterns or hiring out when things become too difficult, it is up to you to make it work.
Andy Wilkinson owns a small online business writing content for his favorite websites. He lives in Minnesota with his dog.