When you’re running a business, one of the worst problems you can run into is…yourself. People who are drawn to founding a business tend to be independent, and like to see the results of their own hard work, but this can turn into a mental trap that poisons your success.
Trying to be an expert in everything might keep you flying on adrenaline, but it’s not a recipe for long term wins. You cannot be everything your business needs, and trying to be sets you up for two very specific kinds of failure: firstly, burnout. Founder burnout affects a significant proportion of entrepreneurs and is much worse than mere exhaustion. Being tired means you need to rest before you return to the fight, burnout means, simply, having no more to give. If you want a career that lasts longer than months, you need to pick your battles and be tactical.
The other failure state that this ‘all things to all men’ approach sets you up for is the simple fact of your own limitations. You can’t be everything your business needs, and even if trying to be doesn’t permanently exhaust you, then at some point you’re going to be wrong. Bullishly pressing ahead when you don’t have the expertise means you could be heading for a precipice without even being able to see it in front of you!
What this adds up to is the need to broaden your knowledge base and your skillset. It might not make financial sense to take on a house lawyer in the early days, or employ a full time market research specialist but you still need injections of those insights.
This is where consultants come in. You can retain them just as long as you need them, deploying their skills tactically to set up systems that keep a steady flow of data coming in, until you’re ready to scale out. Finding a market research partner like Attest, an online lawyer who can consult on contracts when needed, and an interim HR specialist to make sure your administering to your staff well makes a difference. It’s the difference between you and your business burning out after only weeks or months, and long term, sustainable success that doesn’t cost you your mental and physical health.
As well as consultants you need trusted peers: friends, family and business partners who you can talk to, support and be supported by. Recognising the need for support isn’t weakness: it’s how business thrive.