Four Ways Not Stretch Yourself (or Business) Too Thin

When your business gets to a point where there are more clients needing your assistance then you have time for…how do you handle that?

Nobody wants to turn down business, well good business away.  However there are some pitfalls for taking on more than you can handle.

The saying “stretching yourself thin” comes to mind.  Having numerous (paid) clients is one way to keep your business profitable.  Keep in mind that your time put into the services and payment for the terms should be at a point where each business involved is benefiting.  We can’t make everyone happy but stay firm and let your potential or current clients know that business is business.

Every business at one point or another will end up losing customer/clients/vendors.

Your time management needs to come into place.  If you are running a business with 1-2 employees, it is nearly impossible to service a large volume of clients.  Your time is better spent figuring out all the needs of each client and how many hours per month or week you can devote to them.

1)Know your limits

Taking on more clients that you have time for will make a business owner suffer.  Your lack of time needed to devote to your clients may result in a poor quality of service or commitment.  If five full time clients has you at your max, do not add more clients unless time allows you to do so.  For example, say you  have 5 clients and 3 major deadlines coming up.  A potential client who you have been reaching out to for months decides to work with you on a last minute huge project.  If you take on the project, you are taking way from your current clients.

Suggestion:  If this contact/client is worth the time and money, consider taking on the project but hire a part time assistant to help you complete the current or new project.  If you don’t have those resources, then it will lead me to the next item…it’s okay to say no.

2) It’s okay to say no

Ideally we all want to be flooded with so much business so our bottom line will be successful.  Is that correct?  There’s a fine line between wanting to be busy with new business and losing your mind. Sometimes turning down new business is ok.  What benefit will that client get if you are already overwhelmed and overcommitted to your current clients?  It’s not fair to you or the people you work with.  There’s only 24 hours in the day and there is no magical wand that will make the day 30 hours or more.  If you so desire to want to add more business to your plate,  it will lead to the next line…offering a smaller service now and doing more later.

3) Offer a smaller service with the possibility to do more in the future

So, you are slammed with new projects but have a new customer that you have been wanting to get for months.  It’s a huge contract with the possibility of growing into something even bigger in the future.  You are telling yourself “I can’t turn down this opportunity.”  What do you do?  Step 1 and step 2 are not good enough for me.   Consider offering a smaller service int he beginning until your larger contracts slow down or until those major deadlines have passed.  Utilize that assistant or gain an intern  to help you get through that slump.  Also consider hiring a VA, Virtual Assistant or asking another business owner to work with you on a project.  This leads to number 4.

4) Refer them out to a networking friend or contact that does similar work

I got the large contract I wanted but I no longer have time to do it.  I don’t have additional funds to give more work to my assistant but landing this would be beneficial for my business.  What should I do?

Consider reaching out to a networking contact or business friend that does similar work.  You can negotiate the terms of payment and let that business handle part of the project. It is risky so choose carefully and make sure that company has a good track record.  All business owners should understand that risk is inevitable in this industry.  Some will rise and others will fall.

You need to understand your limits, not be afraid of saying no, look for other ways or options to work with potential clients and lastly consider hiring or partnering up with another business.

What are some things as a business owner you would do to handle being stretched too thin?

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