The exclamation followed a “thump.” And immediately afterward, the stench of vinegar filled the air. Pickles lay everywhere on the floor.
“I’m so sorry, Mommy,” my daughter said. She’d been trying to help get dinner on the table outside, but the tray she had was just too full.
“Why didn’t you ask for help?” I asked as we got out the trash can and paper towels.
“I thought I could do it all by myself,” she said, tears brimming.
Plop. The pickles went in the trash.
“Honey, if you need help, please just ask! I would have been more than happy to help you if I just knew you needed it…”
You’re an entrepreneur. A small business owner. A confident, capable person. You can do a lot. But can you really do it all, all by yourself, all the time? Just what happens when you try to do more than you can handle, or handle well?
If you’ve ever tried to do it all yourself but dropped the pickles, so to speak, you know that it, well, stinks. Especially when you’ve lost a customer. Or worse, let down your family or friends.
Owning a business is like trying to carry a big, overloaded tray out to the table every day. There is so much to do. You have services to provide, but you have email inquiries from potential customers to deal with. Phone calls to return. Accounting information to enter in. And wait, how long has it been since you posted on your Facebook page?
It doesn’t take anyone who has started a business too long to figure out: getting good help is vital. And while you can, perhaps, envision how life might be better if you had a bit more help, it may be more impactful to think about how things look when you do drop something important.
So, how do customers feel when you don’t respond to emails or phone calls in a timely manner? We live in a society that has very little patience when they need an answer to something. If you are slow to answer the phone or reply back, your potential customer may have moved on down the Google search results to someone who isn’t nearly as good as you, but who seems like they’re more available to do the work. Oof. The pickles have been dropped. Bye-bye potential customer.
Likewise, the expectation that an email will be answered within hours, even minutes, continues to grow. Fifty percent of responses are sent within two hours, and according to one study, the most common email response time is two minutes. That’s tough to do when you have, you know, a business to run.
But what if you knew a capable virtual admin was handling your emails in a timely fashion, while you did your other work? Your customers are acknowledged, their questions are answered, and you are free to make headway on other projects. Boom! Pickles still on the tray.
Now consider bookkeeping. If you hate it, you are not alone. Not by a long shot. A full 50 percent of business owners say it’s their least favorite task. And it doesn’t get better! The more time business owners spend on their business, the more emotionally draining it is. Now, I don’t know any adult who has a ton of leftover emotional energy to spend on tasks they despise. We’d all be much better served on the parts of our businesses and lives that we are passionate about. If you spend hours getting your books in order, but don’t have the energy to summon a smile for your spouse that night, or start on that great new idea you had, what’s the point? These are the figurative pickles you really can’t afford to have on the floor. And they are exactly the kind of tasks a virtual admin can take for you.
It’s been a few days, and the vinegar stench in my living room has started to wane. I really hope, though, that the lesson has not faded. I hope my daughter has learned that it’s better to ask for a little help up front than to have a huge, stinky mess on the floor to clean up.
Is your tray overloaded and in danger of tipping? This is exactly the sort of problem we love to help you solve. Get the things you hate or that drain you off your to-do list and let someone else handle them. It’ll free you up to make more money, have more energy, and get back to what you love about your small business! Call or email us today and get matched up with a virtual assistant who can keep the pickles on the tray.
This post was contributed by Lindsay Mast, Cc: My Admin’s Social Media and Content Manager.