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When you’re a Virtual Assistant caring for other entrepreneur’s businesses, it’s easy to neglect your own.

However, tolerating issues that you are tripping on, day in and day out, will get in the way of your day-to-day success – and sabotage your ability to grow and scale your business. That’s why it’s important to tackle issues as they come up.

Here’s a list of common issues that stop business growth:

  • Consistent computer annoyances (chronically slow machines, applications that don’t work, the inability to print)
  • Using broken equipment (scanners that keep jamming, printers that only print part of the page)
  • Wondering if your computer backup is working (I’ve lost sleep over this one)
  • Constantly running out of supplies (printer ink, paper, file folders)
  • A chaotic desk (no system to organize your work so you can’t find anything)
  • Taking extra steps to get work done because it’s not automated (credit card processing, order processing)
  • And the one we’ve all done, my all-time favorite: Running your business on a 6-year-old laptop that you think is “going to go” any minute, but waiting until it does to buy a new one

More than losing time, you’re losing momentum, which is much more valuable.

When you stop the work, you disconnect from your thoughts and shift gears. And this is where the real cost comes in. How many ideas do you think you lose every time you switch gears to compensate for a problem? How much more productive would you be if you could stay on track?

If you want to stop the madness and start saving precious energy, here’s what I recommend:

  1. Make a list of the current annoyances.
    Once you start your list, I bet you’ll fill a page. Congratulations! Consider how much time and aggravation you’ll be saving when you invest in fixing these problems.And even better, now that they’re all on one sheet of paper,you can delegate the problem-solving to your staff or hire help to get it taken care of quickly.
  2. When new problems crop up, tackle them right away.
    Remind yourself of how valuable your time is. If you have to unplug a cord every time you print because you don’t have enough ports on your computer, it’s time to go spend $10 on a USB hub.
  3. Do an annual audit.
    Once a year (or more) stop and take a look around.
    I’m often astounded by how crowded my desk can get. Before I know it, it’s piled high and covered with knick-knacks and empty envelopes that distract me from being productive.

Here’s the deal. You don’t have to solve everything at once, but don’t wait until you have the perfect plan, more money, more staff or more of whatever else you think you need to get started. Start now, one bite at a time. Take a good look at what you’re stumbling over every day and how much it’s really costing your business.