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To Grow or Not: What's at Stake When Deciding to Expand Your Business

by Jill Foster on February 19, 2009

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Guest post from Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, regular guest contributor to Women Grow Business. Mayra works as an independent marketing strategist, social media enthusiast, and blogger. With over 14 years of marketing, PR, and communications experience, Mayra helps businesses and non-profits with all aspects of their brand identity, outreach communications, and competitive positioning.

On the fence about growing my business ( … or not)
I had a very insightful conversation with a beloved former colleague today and our talk has left me with much on my mind. I had shared with my peer that business lately has significantly picked up and I was at a point where I could and possibly should, at some point real soon, stop taking on new clients.

I also explained that not taking on new clients is something I didn’t want to do; I didn’t want to turn business away but at the same time, I can’t clone myself, right?!? And there are only so many hours in the day. I added if I did continue to take on more projects, I would have to get help. And that’s where I feel I’m on the fence about. To grow or not to grow, that is the question.

Not just work, it’s family too

As I was chewing on this situation and its many challenges and possibilities I knew I couldn’t be alone in feeling the pressures of being a woman in business for herself, attempting to balance work and family day in and day out.

In fact, as you read this (assuming more than likely that you are a woman in business with family obligations as well) then you’ll know I’m absolutely preaching to the choir here, right?

It’s a constant tug of war to balance all the demands placed upon you as a woman in business. But when you throw in the entrepreneurial nature of being a woman in business – when the work schedule is far from 8-5 and you are on a conference call in between dinner prep and piles of endless laundry – trust me, life can get pretty hairy rather quickly.

So what to do?
Ah my friends, if I had that answer, perhaps I would not be writing this blog post here. I wish I knew.

I never envisioned growing to have a more “structured” marketing and PR agency but maybe that is where this is all headed??

Perhaps I was naïve to think I could stay a one-(wo)man army forever. My trusted friend tells me all my fear means I must be afraid of making money. Damn! That was deep. But really, it’s not about that. Still, he pushed back in our conversation and said:

You need to start finding talented, trusted folks that you can farm work out to, manage the quality of the work, and continue to grow.

See — that is just so much easier said than done.

I had tried that almost 10 years ago in my first marketing/PR agency attempt. What I discovered was that, you know, when you sub things out, you lose some quality, some control. Plus there’s always the headached possibility that the sub-contractor will, for whatever reason(s), not meet deadlines or be as committed to the account.

Back to square one
Well, square one may be too far back in this story. How about square one and a half? Because the deal is this: … do I want to turn down new business? No, I do not. But am I fearful of not being able to find reliable help? Yes, I am. So where does this put me?

The answer:
It puts me in a place where I know I have to get some help but I think I will approach this very carefully and perhaps, start outsourcing a lot of the smaller stuff that can often be overwhelming despite its apparent simplicity.

For example, I absolutely have to get my contact database organized into BatchBook. I have contacts in Outlook, Yahoo!, Gmail, GoDaddy web mail and a stack of business cards. And I just don’t have time to get this vital information all integrated into one single space. Other stuff I’ll have to farm out is data entry and research because these “little things” can guzzle up humongo chunks of time.

I’m facing it: Superwoman I am not
So what I’ve learned in the past 24 hours is that despite my thinking that oh, yeah … I can do it all … is that perhaps, I simply can’t.

Does that amount to failure?
Well of course I’m gonna tell you here that no, it does not. Secretly, though, I know I’ll have to work on some of that “failure” feeling to let that go. I realize I can’t be all things to all people. And God only gave us 24 hours per day of which allegedly (8) are supposed to be used for sleeping. Therefore, I have to face the facts and take off my red [Superwomen] cape.

I think this is all part of growing pains and adjustments are needed to help support myself in this time of increasing demand and needed transition.

More Mayra adventures soon.
…until then, be well and keep succeeding in your business!

(image, Direction Sign, by Chris Devers)

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