In the early stages of a business, it can be tempting to make sure that every single cent goes right back into the business to increase presence, portfolio, and brand. After all, a business needs to feed into itself in order to succeed, right?
To a point. A survey from The Alternative Board says that nearly 80% of entrepreneurs wish that they had a better balance of work and personal investments. But as Lorna Borenstein, founder of Groker has written, entrepreneurs “must remember that they cannot and won't do their best work if they're too tired to be inspiring leaders” Sean Nisil has even said that if an entrepreneur has to choose between investing in their business or themselves, they should choose themselves.
Let's take a look at some of the reasons why.
When you're building a business from the ground up, you tend to wear a lot of hats. You're the accounting person, the social media guru, the developer, the programmer, the web designer, and the administrative assistant. You even make the coffee, unless you outsource that to the coffee shop down the street.
It can be exhausting to manage so many aspects of a business at one time, and during the crucial early-years of a business, when most businesses succeed or fail, one dropped ball can send the whole juggling act tumbling down to the floor.
Some entrepreneurs approach this scenario in a near panic, frantically juggling away until they can start to outsource some of the tasks at which they personally don't excel. Sometimes, there's no other way a business can run, at least not until it begins to bring in some income.
Take tight focus on your business skills this weekend by:
Contacting your local Small Business Administration. Offer to teach a class to new entrepreneurs in a field where you have expertise. Demonstrate a simplified accounting technique, teach a crash course in social media marketing, or mentor an entrepreneur who is crafting their first business plan.
Picking up the new book from an expert in your field, and spend the weekend reading it closely, and in detail. Take notes, break out the post-its, and create an action plan for your business based on the fresh ideas you discover.
Stop the juggling act, even just for a few hours, and focus on the part of your business that drives your passion to remind yourself why you love doing this.
Decrease Risks Of Failure
The exact statistics are highly disputed, but it's generally agreed that many businesses fail in the first few years of operation. One reason we just mentioned: business owners are trying to do too much and wearing too many hats.
Maybe you founded your company on a great idea for an app. You developed the app, and did an amazing job marketing it. But you don't know beans about accounting and so while you struggle along, your company isn't finding the kind of success it could if you were more familiar with the tasks at hand.
You can combat the urge to do it all in several ways:
Outsource the areas you struggle with. From content creation to accounting to website development, there’s someone you can connect with who will take care of this aspect of your business for you.
Hire someone to run this corner of your business. Freelancers can only take you so far; if you need regular content creation, daily accounting tasks completed, or ongoing updates to a website, having someone on the payroll who can manage this for you can be more affordable in the long run than working with a freelancer, who is always juggling other commitments as well as your needs.
Get educated. If you have one small gap to fill, reach out to your local Small Business Development Center, or a community college, and inquire about classes or workshops available for business owners.
At first, it may be hard to understand how to add one more thing to the juggling act, but your business will thank you for it.
At the start-up level, many angel investors say that they don't invest in a company; they invest in a person. At the stage at which most angels generally see companies, ideas and operations are still fluid and prone to change. You may have a great concept and an amazing prototype, but you don't yet have a completely established company.
An investor, therefore, is looking at what the entrepreneur themselves is bringing to the table, and saying that they believe this entrepreneur will find the means to succeed. To show your ability in this area, you should:
Make sure you have a presence on social media. Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout guide offers great tips on how to build your personal brand. One additional suggestion: make sure you’re using the right social media platform. It doesn’t do you any good to have 10,000 Facebook followers if none of them care about your future product.
Network with local entrepreneurs and experts in your industry. Startupist says that this can “help you along your way to building strong relationships with other entrepreneurs from different age groups, nationality and fields of interest,” which will provide you with learning opportunities and connection possibilities you didn’t even know were available.
Understand that your personal brand isn’t static. This isn’t something you set up and walk away from; it’s an ongoing process of connection and relationship. You should always be looking for tips on how to improve the online representation of your personal brand, and actively considering how you can apply new suggestions and fresh views to your brand.
Create Something Special
When you run your own business, you work harder than any hourly employee probably ever will. You pour your own sweat and tears into the creation of your company, even if it takes off and is an instant success (which it almost never is, let's be honest).
But don't ever forget that your company is built around a vision, your vision, and that your vision deserves investment as well. By taking care of yourself, you increase the odds that your business will succeed to expand your vision to the entirety of your potential audience.
It can absolutely be intimidating to decide that you're taking a day off from the juggling act and working on yourself first. But it's worth it. After all, we must acknowledge that not all entrepreneurs succeed with their first business idea or company. Not every idea leads to fame and fortune.
Money that you invest in a failed company will probably be lost. Money that you invest in learning how to be a better entrepreneur, however, will help you to assure that your next attempt will be more successful.
What is the best investment you ever made in your personal brand as an entrepreneur? Let us know in the comments.