When You Know its Time to Quit Being Everything to Everyone
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When You Know its Time to Quit Being Everything to Everyone

Melanie Boylan

Great Aspirations! 

Many, many startups have great aspirations to be pinnacle of customer service and make sure their own business offering is enticing and complete.  Some categories lend themselves to another like Flowers to weddings and funerals and Restaurants to out door catering.  This is largely only made possible by the initial losses you can withstand in the first year or two.  The expectation some business owners have is to be a "one stop shop" for their customer.  Yet how many actual businesses achieve this? 

When looking around at SME's in Ireland, I came across a large dose of businesses that could ONLY do this by bringing in extra expertise.  This was either by sub contracting or by expanding naturally.  Then you have to deal with staff terms and conditions, PRSI and pensions! Many SME's are stay at home parents or work more than one job in order to bring in the money.  Taking large losses is not possible when you work on your own and when you are not being given support financially by investment.  So viability of this option for small business owners is quite low. 

How to Overcome 

Simply put many business owners have managed to create a better and long term business by specialising in one field or sector.  Look at Samantha Kelly of Tweeting Goddess.  She has been known for Twitter since day one and it has done her no harm whatsoever.  She has created an agency several years later after establishing her brand and has become a well known name in her industry. Of course, a lot of small businesses need to make an income quickly, so instead of offering a wide range of products or services maybe look at one that you can excel at and make it your speciality. You can build your brand identity and reputation much faster and can deliver your product and service faster too. 

When to Grow 

In my opinion I have seen clear growth in businesses that have reached their personal threshold and initially gone on to subcontract out their work.  That way you can bring in a range of different experience and still have it branded under your own brand name.   All sorts of things need to be put in place of course and agreed before this happens but its not impossible,  You may want to sort out a contract with the person, email addresses and ethos.  I would recommend you do all three but do what you feel comfortable with. 

What Next? 

If you feel you need to rethink your business and perhaps specialise in one area, that get some advice from the Local Enterprise Office or a business coach or mentor. There are plenty of these within Womensinspire who can support you and help you make the decisions needed to scale-up your business. You will need to look at what gets you most excited in your business, where the best mark up could be and then look at organising a business plan.

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