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        Another AHBBO Article

        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.
         

        TROUBLED TEENS

        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
        masterpieces.

        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
        website.

        => 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.
         

        YOUNG ADULTHOOD

        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.shelteredturtle.com newsletter



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