I take one of four approaches to something I cannot do, do not like, or don’t understand (any of these three reasons make it a “problem area” in my mind).
1) Learn it. I don’t deal well with failure so I just do whatever I have to do to improve. Whether it’s research online, practice/rehearsing, or calling in someone else to teach me to do it, there’s a way if I really need to learn something.
2) Get backup. If there’s something that you absolutely can’t avoid, find a way to have a “backup” available when you need it. I fill this role for my design partners for a cart I work with. If they get stuck on a design or coding issue, they know they can email me and I’ll reply ASAP with a solution or help in the right direction. The end client does not ever need to know they were stuck. And when I get stuck with certain programming, I have a php expert who I can call in. Knowing that you’ve got a relationship with someone, a colleague or even a paid by the incident support team, can be a huge relief when you need that help.
3) Outsource it. If it can be outsourced, then I’ll outsource it either to my VA or a hired temp for the specific project. Some familiarity though is needed on my part to outsource something, or else a very well established relationship of trust with the outsourcer, so I know whether they’re completing the task properly.
4) Don’t do it. It took me a while but I’ve accepted that option 1 cannot be the answer for every problem area. There are a few specific services that I do not offer through my website hosting and design companies. I could, and I know most designs firm do, but for various reasons I don’t. If the problem area is created by a product or service that isn’t essential, consider what would happen if you just didn’t offer it. It might not be the end of the world. In my case it’s helped me build valuable relationships with other great designers (who yes, technically are my “competition” but I don’t view my world in terms of competitive business but instead collaborative business benefiting everyone).
Sometimes these are combined for a problem area — like my monthly accounting statements. I outsourced them until I found a system and learned to do it myself. Now I can do it in less than an hour and I’m not wasting half a day every month so I moved from option 3 to option 1.
There are my four strategies for handling “problem areas” in my business.
Comments? Want to share how you handle them or what works for you? Feel free to post a note below in the comments section.