Xchange asks Canada’s leading businesswomen to share their most meaningful business lessons. Each issue brings you the advice that has helped shape the lives and companies of these winning businesswomen.
Carinta Mannarelli is president of Global Currency Services Inc., a Guelph, Ont.-based provider of currency exchange for consumers and business. In addition to settling trades in the form of foreign cash, drafts, wire transfers and travelers cheques, the firm also provides customers with free advice and a market watch on foreign markets. In 2005, Mannarelli ranked 14th on PROFIT’s list of Canada’s Top Women Entrepreneurs, with her firm logging annual revenue of more than $24.7 million.
Best advice: “Determine what you do best and ‘farm out’ the rest.”
For the first couple of years after launching Global Currency in 2000, “I was spending about 80% of my time doing things that I’m not good at,” says Mannarelli. “I did the same thing most entrepreneurs do — I hoarded control of everything, thinking that if I knew how I wanted it done, I’d naturally do it best.” Talks with her business mentor, a former head of a manufacturing plant, revealed a recurring theme: “I was stretched for time, and I wasn’t really enjoying my work,” says Mannarelli. “When we looked at what I was spending most of my time doing, it was all these components (such as administrative functions) that I was horrible at.”
By hiring experts to handle much of the back-end tasks of her business, “I’m having way more fun, and [the business] is more successful,” she says. “Now I can actually maximize the things I’m good at.”
You can hire someone to handle most every business function. For example, if you need it, HR experts can handle more than just payroll. “You can get someone to fire people for you. You can get someone to interview for you.”
Determining what tasks you’re best at requires some introspection, but a good indicator might be the activities you enjoy doing the most. Not many people enjoy doing what they don’t do well. If in doubt, ask someone you trust — a mentor, family or even staff — to give you the straight goods.