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The hard part of letting go of your start-up

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When you start your business, you tend to be involved in every aspect of the business. In most cases that will be because you want to influence every early decision, but it wouldn’t be uncommon if it were down to finances as well. You want to be able to save money and control expenses as well. So, your early communications will be done via your personal mobile number, a cheap off-the-shelf email client, with a basic WordPress site, using free online tools to manage your financial books, client presentations and documents. If you have searched online for a way to print documents to PDF files, then you will probably recognise all of this.

It’s also quite tempting to stick with the early stage solutions, even when your business grows. It will usually be the more visible items that get changed over first. You will get a business phone to ensure you get some downtime yourself out of office hours. You will replace your old personal laptop, with one that is more representative of your business. You might even start getting stationary, while at the same time, you consider getting a freelancer to redo the logo you created on one of those logo-generating websites. We tend to start with those things that are visible and give us a great emotional attachment to the business.

The hard part of letting go of your start-up

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Then there are things that might limit our potential in making the business run well. At one point, you might find that your freeware & opensource word-processing, presentation and spreadsheet solutions might lack capability available in paid-for versions. For example, using Google Sheets to balance your financial books might not be secure enough and getting local copies might be too much work to keep up. Or creating PDF invoices manually might be too error-prone, and you don’t want to be lacking a full paper trail when you ever get audited. Or you find out that website queries are mostly weird spambots.

Once the list of potential operational bottlenecks gets long enough, and the effects are being felt, it might be time to find some serious solutions. Usually, this will require time for implementation and a considerable investment. This is often where you go from a start-up to a fledgeling business. This is the time where you would consider hiring an ‘IT person’ to sort out company email inboxes, laptop security and even central file servers. This is where you would want to shore up the critical parts of your business with the right software, such as a robust office suite solution and the specialist disciplines such as accounting with professional business software, like the ones Horizon Business Systems offers. This is usually also the time to consider if your skillset is best suited for the operational demands of business-as-usual. Some entrepreneurs decide to hire a CEO at this point, or COO even, to make sure the operational side of the business runs smoothly.

The latter point is critical to get right. Recognising when the entrepreneurial spirit is not enough to ensure business success and it’s time to let go.

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