As small business owners we develop a lot of problem solving skills over the course of our lives. We tend to be jacks of all trades. We pride ourselves on our ability to come up with the solution to any issue. But the solutions we have are limited -- limited by the problems we’ve faced and the skill sets we’ve developed in our personal and professional lives. Sometimes, we need an outside opinion or someone else's expertise. When do you call in that expert? How much time, effort, and resources do you throw an issue before asking for help? And here’s the big question: With your entrepreneurial spirit, do you view asking for help as the equivalent of admitting failure? Hmmm… I can feel you looking away from your screen now… Busted! Don’t worry. If it does feel like asking for help means admitting defeat, you’re not alone. Over the course of my career working with small business owners and being one myself, I’ve seen many entrepreneurs stand in the way of quickly solving a problem because they felt like they should be able to do it themselves. Or that asking someone else for their expertise was just too much time or money.  Let me give you a real life example. One of my clients HATES QuickBooks. With a passion. It drives her completely crazy when she has to work on her books. Like many business owners, however, her thought process fell along the lines of “if I do it myself, it won’t cost me anything.” Is that really true, though?  During one of our conversations, we talked about hiring an hourly bookkeeper. It was a long discussion and eventually I just had to double dog dare her to do it. After we finally agreed on this course of action she told me, “It takes me over eight hours to do my QuickBook entries! This is going to cost me a fortune!” Fast forward one month. We sit down for our monthly meeting and I ask her about the QuickBooks situation. With absolute delight, she tells me that the bookkeeper came over, cleaned up her past incorrect entries, entered all the receipts and other information, and was done in two hours! Excited, the business owner went out that afternoon and used her free time to meet up with clients she wouldn’t have otherwise been able to fit in her schedule. That meeting resulted in booking a $50,000 kitchen remodeling job. Now you tell me, were those two hours worth it?  One of the most important skill sets we can develop as small business owners is knowing when it’s time to get out of the way, ask for help, and get the job done once and right. Don’t be the problem. Don’t limit yourself. Ask for help.  I have a few questions for you: What problem have you been trying to solve for way too long? How could you better use the resources you have thrown at that problem? Let me know in the comments below! Terry Doloughty is the Founder of B.O.S.S. Consulting with thirty years of experience in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors. Terry believes that leadership is the most valuable renewable resource. He’s passionate about sharing his skills and life experiences with the next generation of leaders so they can grow their organizations and support their communities. Be the first to read our next post -- sign up for our blog below!

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