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Planning Through the Life Cycle of Your Business - Part 4

Elena Fawkner

Part III - Part IV - Part V In this part, we're
tackling the "Troubled Teens" through "Young Adulthood"
periods of your business.


Well, if you're still with us for the Troubled Teens stage of your
business, you've survived the Terrible Twos and have made the 
decision to commit your working life 100% to your business or 
have made the strategic decision to keep it at more manageable 
proportions because you weren't prepared to sacrifice another 
area of your life.  Either decision is perfectly legitimate.

Now that the Terrible Twos are behind us, we can look forward
to a (hopefully) relatively stable period of slow but steady
growth.  Sure, there'll be setbacks along the way but you'll just
make your adjustments and go on.

At some point along the way, though, when things are pretty 
much under control and you're feeling like you have some say 
in how you run your own life again, you may begin to feel
restless and moody.  You guessed it ... you've reached the 
Troubled Teens.

Your business isn't quite the challenge it was before.  You're 
already spending as much time as you can on your business 
so it's not simply a matter of working longer hours and working 
harder to get the satisfaction you're missing.  There just has to
be more than this, you're thinking by this stage.  If so, it's 
altogether time to start working smarter so you can free yourself 
up to move on to more challenging things.

The answer to this dilemma is to get outside help.  At this
point you need an assistant.  I dealt with this subject in detail 
in a recent article entitled "Lightening the Load ... Getting Help 
When You Need It".   In summary, though,
the steps are:

1. Deciding on Your Assistant

If you're running your business on a shoestring (and who 
isn't?), you can't afford to pay someone a wage 
in advance of generating additional income. So whoever you 
choose needs to be someone who's prepared to work for a 
percentage of the profits of the business rather than a wage. 
For this reason, the person you choose will most likely be 
close to you ... a family member, spouse or very close friend.

2.  Compensating Your Assistant

Negotiate with your assistant on the proportion of profits he
or she will receive.  This will depend on the types of tasks your
assistant performs, the time they invest and the overall
contribution they make to the growth (not just the maintenance)
of your business.

3. Consider the Tax Consequences

It matters whether your assistant is an employee or an independent 
contractor.  Talk to your accountant about the tax implications.  
In a nutshell, be aware that if your assistant is an employee, you 
will be responsible for deducting and remitting tax.  If he or she is 
an independent contractor, the tax burden rests with them.

4. Convert Time Into Income

You have to convert the time you free up with the help of 
your assistant into income and that means more income than
it's costing you to compensate your assistant.   Otherwise
you're only breaking even at best.

5.  Tasks to Delegate

This obviously depends on the business.  In our stained
glass lampshade and window business example, if you're 
marketing your work online, you can delegate a lot of your 
online activities to your assistant and spend more of your time
on the actual craft of designing and creating stained glass

What kinds of tasks, both online and offline, can you delegate?  
Consider the following:

=> Organizing Home Parties

One way of generating new business is to hold parties in
the homes of hostesses who invite their friends and associates
over to see a showcase of your work.  Delegate to your
assistant the solicitation of such parties.

=> Advertising Your Work

Delegate to your assistant the task of having your best
pieces professionally photographed for display on your
website and in print advertisements.  Also delegate to your
assistant the task of negotiating advertising, both online
and offline.  This is an extremely time-intensive part of
your business.

=> Processing Subscribe/Unsubscribe Requests

If you publish an ezine teaching others the finer points of
your craft, have your assistant process all the subscribe 
and unsubscribe requests.

=> Processing Advertising Orders

Another routine task that can be delegated to your assistant 
is the processing of advertising orders in your ezine or your

=> Sending Your Ezine

Actually sending your ezine to your list is something that 
you can delegate to your assistant.

=> Submitting Your Articles

Another routine task that your assistant can take care of is 
your article submissions. 

=> Submitting Your Ezine

Submitting your ezine to the various ezine announcement 
services is another task you should delegate.

=> Web Site Updating

Depending on how computer-savvy your assistant is, 
he or she may also be able to take on some simple web 
site updating for you.

These are just a few of the more obvious examples.  In short,
try and delegate all ancillary types of activities.  In our
stained glass example, the idea is to free you up to focus on
what you do best -- your stained glass creations.  By spending
the time you save thanks to your assistant wisely, you should
be able to direct your energies into much more productive
and satisfying avenues.


By the time you reach young adulthood, you've freed yourself
of the restlessness and distractions of the Troubled Teens.
No longer is your time frittered away on tasks that simply 
don't contribute to the growth of your business.  You're working
smarter, not harder, and the synergies you have created by
engaging an assistant mean that you're finally able to stand on
your own two feet.  Your business is healthy and dynamic
and, so long as you maintain your focus, should continue to
grow by virtue of simple critical mass.  Congratulations, you're
now a bona fide grown-up.

Enjoy this time while it lasts because it won't.  Next week,
in the fifth and final instalment of this article series, we'll see 
what happens when your business hits mid-life crisis and what 
you can do about it.


Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online http://www.ahbbo.com newsletter

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