Another Kind of Challenge

As I step into my 7th year in business, it strikes me that I’m facing a whole new set of challenges this year. That means new experiences and probably some goof-ups to learn from.

For my first few years in business, my focus was on sales and marketing. I should say that it’s where my focus should have been but wasn’t always. I spent a lot of time (and money) to get good people to help me in my efforts – and lots of good people invested their time in me.

Almost two years ago, I changed my whole business model because it became clear that a strategy which depended on cold calling wasn’t going to work for me. Since then my strategies have been networking, referrals, social media and e-marketing – and it’s been working so good that now I have a whole new challenge:

How do I increase my capacity? Now that I have a fully integrated sales and marketing strategy, how do I continue to take on all the work I’m generating?

I’m painfully aware that I’ve reached a very critical point in the future success of my business. If I continue to take on work without considering how I will get it all done, I will surely fail – because my customer service will suffer. I pride myself on my customer service – I have dozens of testimonials to prove it – and I’m not going to let that suffer, or settle for ‘just OK’.

Since my previous career was in operations and logistics, you’d think I’d be really good at facing this challenge. The big difference now is that I manage no team that will help me strategize and then do all the work. Building a team isn’t so easy on a limited budget and with an undefined path forward. And it’s hard to build that path forward without a team. I can’t sit around thinking about the chicken and the egg, I have to get tough and bite a bullet. Is this when I become a true entrepreneur?

Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on August 30, 2011