As an unashamed sci-fi geek it comes as possibly no accidental coincidence that I often draw an analogy between the need for smart business resourcing and the multiple capabilities, or “hive mind” of Star Trek‘s Borg collective.Many small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs are faced with the same challenge – too many pulls on their time. Combined with the fine art of juggling often modest budgets, this can lead to a serious traffic jam in the neural pathways. I know, from real experience over the past few months, just what a block this can become. Sitting faced with a list covering website design, product development, forecasting, VAT returns, HR management and much more, I sometimes wonder if even Data could cope in today’s startup world. Often, the simple solution seems to be to do one of two things: take on the task yourself or put it off until a time when you have more resource to address it. Opting to do it yourself often appears to be the logical choice. After all, nobody knows your business better than you and how hard can said task be anyway? The grim reality is that a task doesn’t need to be overly complicated for it suck hours, even days, out of your working week. Extrapolate those hours spent per week over the course of a year and it can add up to a sizeable chunk of time that would have been much better spent developing your business. Elect to put the task off and it’s likely that the “perfect time” to do it will drift further into the distance until it’s the size of a distant galaxy far, far away. So, until time travel becomes a legitimate option, we need to find a better solution. The answer will be different for every entrepreneur, however there are some simple steps that I believe can set you off on the right foot. Identify the business issues that are keeping you awake at night. These problems are probably the ones that you have least chance of resolving by yourself. Recognise the times where investing in professional services gives better return than investing the time and effort of doing it yourself. There will be certain areas where you simply cannot do the job yourself, for many of us the most obvious example here would be legal matters, but it could just as easily be book keeping, marketing or less obvious areas such as mentoring and organisational health. Be flexible. The fact that you need an IT expert five days a week right now doesn’t mean you’ll need the same level of support in a few months’ time. In an ideal world your needs will change and develop as your business grows, so make sure your resource management reflects that. In March 2013, I launched Blue Acorns to provide a solution to the challenge of smart business resourcing and I’m pleased to say that one year on, the assimilation model seems to be working not only for us, but for our clients too. To paraphrase a certain mobile phone provider’s ad slogan, you need to “Be More Borg”. By recognising the need for support and making smart, flexible resourcing decisions, an ambitious enterprise can surround itself with all the skills necessary to maximise its chances of not just success, but to truly boldly go and reach for the stars. Lisa Thompson is the founder of Blue Acorns.
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