Single point of failure is described as the fatal flaw that keeps the whole system from operating. Within the small business community, this can easily be characterized by a person, rather than a technique.

As entrepreneurs set out on their journey within any given industry, they are faced with many challenges that fall outside of their area of expertise and bandwidth. Mostly attributed to capital constraints, business owners typically take on multiple roles to limit the outflow of cash, and subsequently end up limiting the inflow of it as well.

Identifying the Single Point of Failure

Last month, Parabilis participated in a panel discussion, and an executive of a growing and thriving GovCon explained the moment when she realized that she was the single point of failure in her company. Rather than devoting her time to doing what she was best at and hiring internally or outsourcing the rest, she was taking on too many roles, and each was suffering due to lack of focus and expertise to work optimally in every space.

We rarely hear business leaders talk about the downside to doing it all. But the truth is, you can’t be all things to everyone, including your own business.

How to Solve the Issue

Recognizing there is a problem is step one. That is usually the hardest step in relation to business ownership. All too often the business owner will sacrifice to save a buck. Doing more than what is in their proverbial “wheelhouse” to save for another day.

This mentality, while in its initial state may appear unavoidable, in hindsight can be understood to be most likely driven by fear. The entrepreneurial journey is a balancing act between doing as much as you can on your own without sacrificing the overall performance of each facet of your business.

Once you recognize there’s an issue and the issue is you, then you have to do something about it. There is always a financial hardship when expanding your business, but if you can see the plan through from start to finish you can chart out how to make the best of the growing pains.

While capital constraints for small businesses are a prevailing issue, there are ways to gain access to the capital you need to grow without selling your soul. Taking on incremental and strategic debt to fund growth is a healthy risk, especially if you are confident that your services or goods are viable and sustainable in the marketplace.

While traditional lending may not be an option you can utilize for fast-paced growth, some alternatives can give you what you need to capitalize on the work you can win. The catch is you need to know that not all alternatives are the same, and knowing the difference, both in price and commitment, can dictate how effective that alternative will be for your purpose.

Lessons Learned

Don’t be the anchor, be the sails that catch the wind. If you see you are limiting your potential because you’re wearing too many hats, chances are finding quality partners or employees will be money well spent. Don’t wait too long to address the elephant in the room. It could cost you and cause you to miss out on opportunities that may never find their way back to you again.