Weakest LinkAs the old saying goes, “You are only as strong as your weakest link.”  This especially holds true in business.  When you first start up a company, you are handle numerous responsibilities if not all responsibilities.  Cash Flow is not yet coming in and money can be tight.   Your friends with jobs are working 40 hours a week bringing home that consistent paycheck while you are working an 80 hours week, earning no paycheck, &  putting money back into your business.  Welcome to the life of a start-up small business owner and entrepreneur.  Creating a business takes hard work, dedication, the ability to be creative, discipline, and patience.  If you try to do everything yourself, it will be difficult to grow and one false step can break the link of your chain severing your companies existence.  That’s where networking,  partners, and subcontracting comes into play.

Networking with other people and businesses is a terrific way to find help without having to hire employees.  You can join a business group in your county where like minded people meet up once a week.  These groups can meeting early morning for breakfast, afternoon, or night.  Bring business cards, meet new people, and gather business cards from individuals at the event!  This will allow you to engage in conversation with perspective individuals that can help progress your business forward.  For example, lets say you are starting a handyman company.  You have your truck, tools, licenses, and insurance; yet you don’t have a ton of work.  You meet for an early morning breakfast where you converse with an entrepreneur who has owned a property management company for three years.  The property management company rents out houses and constantly does repairs for tenants & rehab work upon move outs.  You talk, leave a good impression, and exchange business cards.  Now after the event is over, the property manager will call you for work which needs to be completed.  Conversely, if you come across one of your handyman customers who is a real estate investor looking to rent out a property, be sure to relay that information to the property management company you work with to close down a contract.  Over time, you will build a solid business relationship helping one another.  This is an excellent strategy to build your business in the long run.

Partners can also help your business become profitable quicker.  You can have a working partner or silent partner.  Usually, a partner will invest money or sweat equity into your company in return for an equity stake into your business.   A man by the name of Ronald Wayne was a 10% partner in the early days of Apple computers.  He decided to sell his partnership in the company for a whooping $800.00 1976!  If he would have held on to his equity share, it would be worth 35 billon dollars today!  Sweat equity is where you don’t but any money down to buy into a company, but you use your labor in return for an ownership stake in the company!  When people have a vested interest how a company performs, they excel in making sure the business is as profitable as possible.

Finally, we come to subcontracting.  This helps out when you have a job to do which either requires specialty licenses, is too big for your to handle, you don’t have the experience, or you don’t have the time.  I will give you an example with my landscape business.  I provided full service landscape for properties here in Southwest Florida.  Full service includes insecticides, fungicides, and selective herbicides.  A specialty certified pest control operators licenses is required to complete this work which my business does not possess.  Instead of missing out on this business, I subcontract this work out to a friend of mine who owns a reputable company.  I then add some money onto the job and invoice my customer.  Once I am paid, I pay my subcontractor the invoice he sends me.  I am his eyes and ears so when there is an issue, I let him know what needs to be done.  In turn, he handles the issue with his license, insurance, labor, time, and expertise.   We managed 100s of properties like this together where we are both profitable!

Thanks for reading and feel free to share & comment.

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