As a business owner, it’s a tough call to know when to take the next big leap that ensures you keep growing. Being an insider and knowing every in and out, it can be hard to take a step back and view things with accurate perspective.
In a discussion with my business partner @JamesBlute this week, I heard about a conversation he had had recently with an internet marketing ‘expert’ who claimed that their most effective marketing activity was utilisation of social media platforms. When asked why this was so effective, the reply was “because it’s free.”. James and I had a lengthy exchange about anybody’s time being ‘free’. If you are a business owner, the time you invest in any activity related to your business takes you away from other activity you could be focusing on. To consider that you doing something yourself makes it free is a big mistake.
In the early days, the majority of people who are self employed wear every hat within their business. They pack items, take telephone calls, conduct marketing activities, write letters, go to the post office, sweat over accounts and get hands on with any and every task that needs doing. This is all essential nitty gritty stuff when venturing out on your own; however, the thing that is crucial to the success of any growing business is the ability to know when to look for help.
It seems the most common personality trait among successful entrepreneurs is the need to be in control. We love our businesses, nobody knows them better than us so how can we possibly be able to expect a stranger to be able to care as much as we do about the level of service or experience we are offering? Simple – you look to outsource the areas that you are least competent in handling to experts who have a solid reputation. Yes, it costs money to ask other people for help BUT herein lies the secret… By paying somebody else to handle some of your workload, you are freeing yourself to focus clearly on the areas you excel at.
Consider for a moment your hourly rate. Each hour that you spend staring at a computer screen or with your head in your hands is not only that amount down the drain (as you’re no further forward) but also an extra hour lost to another area of your business. Employing the services of a reputable accountant, lawyer, web designer or any other expert who can help you frees countless hours of your time. Not only does this impact upon your productivity (and/or sanity) levels; but it also gives you peace of mind that tasks are being conducted thoroughly, professionally and accurately.
Of course, it’s not only professional services that can help make your time more effective. Using taylored services such as network based ACD to handle your telephone calls or a virtual assistant to help reply to your ever growing mountain of emails can allow you to deliver a polished and consistent service.
Being able to delegate tasks that are key to the day to day running of your business is no light issue. Outsourcing with care can allow you not only clear focus for other business activities but also increased harmony in your work/life balance. Many business owners I speak to reply to suggestions of outsourcing with an instant ‘I can’t afford it’. The question you should be asking yourself is clear – if you’re looking to grow your business and build a sound reputation for quality; can you afford not to?