Monthly Archives: July 2006

The problem with many Internet businesses…

The problem with so many Internet businesses is that they are often run by just one person.  But surely that’s a good thing right?  Well, it can be – it means that you have complete control over everything you are doing and you know exactly what is going on with every aspect of the business at all times.  BUT there is one big downside which is that each individual only has 24 hours in the day and this means there is a clear limit as to how much work you can actually get done in that time.

Don’t get me wrong, I am as guilty as everyone else who falls into this trap.  I am a self-confessed control freak and for years I wouldn’t outsource any of my business tasks.  If I wanted to do something, I would spend hours/days/weeks working out how to do it myself rather than letting someone else handle the work for me.  The upside of this approach was that I did learn a lot but the downside was that I wasted a huge amount of time.  Over the years I have got a lot better at outsourcing work but I still tend to only outsource small jobs rather than entire projects, with the rest of the work being completed by yours truly.

When I decided to create my most recent online venture, SimplyWholesale, I decided to adopt a completely different strategy.  Not only did I decide to outsource the entire web design/build side of the project but I also took on a business partner on a 50/50 basis.  My main reason for this major deviation from my ‘normal’ approach was that I just didn’t want to do a lot of the work which was required.  After working online for close to 10 years, I had had enough of building websites, designing scripts and carrying out some of the other mundane tasks involved in setting up a new Internet business. 

Getting rid of the website design and build was a considerable weight off my shoulders and it was/is fantastic to have a competent web designer at the end of the phone.  Whilst I still carry out minor updates/improvements to the new site, if I need anything more complicated doing I simply send an email to the design team and it gets done for me.  Of course there is a cost involved in doing things this way but the time saving and decreased stress levels are well worth it!

The main benefit I have seen however is from working with a business partner.  I have worked with Dave (co-director of SimplyWholesale) in the past on various projects but this is the first time that we have committed the majority of our working week to one joint venture.  Although it is pretty obvious that having two people working on the same business will double your effective output, it is only when you experience this that you realize how much difference this actually makes….

There are now large chunks of running SimplyWholesale which I just don’t have to worry about or even think about much of the time.  These areas fall under Dave’s control and it is his job to worry about them.  It works both ways of course and there are plenty of things that Dave doesn’t have to deal with because they are my jobs.

We all like to think that we are good at everything but the truth is that some people are far better at filling certain roles than others and there are many things that Dave can do a lot better than I can so it makes sense that he should do them.

When it comes down to it, the only way that a business (either online or offline) can continue to grow is by employing additional staff.  Even with something as flexible as the Internet, where it is possible for a one-man band business to earn a substantial income with much of the work on auto-pilot, there will come a time when the owner runs out of time each week (or just decides that he doesn’t want to work as many hours each day).

Because of the way that so many Internet business start, it is so easy to get sucked into doing everything yourself.  It isn’t like opening a shop for example where you know that you will need staff because you don’t want to be in the shop eight hours a day/six days a week.  Many online businesses start off as tiny concerns run from a bedroom somewhere and gradually grow into ‘proper’ businesses.  By this time, the owner has probably already fallen into the trap of doing everything and it can seem like an impossible situation to get out of.

If this sounds like you (or if you are about to start a new online business), spend some time thinking about how you could get someone else to handle some of your workload.  You will probably be surprised at how much difference it makes to your income, lifestyle and business overall.

Remember, you don’t need to rush out and hire staff – how about training your husband/wife/partner etc to do some of your day to day tasks?  Even if you manage to snatch back just a couple of hours a day, your business (and your life) will definitely see the benefits…