26 Sep Which hats SHOULD I wear?? A Small Business Owners Strategy to Confidently Outsource
We all know that stage in the beginning of launching a small business. Maybe you even follow some #entrepreneurlife feeds on twitter and get some good laughs from time to time as you are challenged by and commiserate with your fellow hustlers.
Starting a business is not glamorous by any means. Maybe you start the day in your snazzy suit and hip leather bag, off to that early morning coffee date, working hard to network and make your business one of the most recognizable brands in your trade. But often times you finish with your sleeves rolled up, in the bathroom of your shop, trying to fix the plumbing because you just don’t need another bill right now. The number of hats you wore in between the coffee date this morning and the late night plumbing is only outnumbered by the pile of unpaid invoices on your desk that you never sat at today.
Time is a ruthless master and does not play favorites. As a small business owner you will have to find a way to conquer some time in your day, whether it is for you own personal development or investing time into actually leading and developing your business so that you can take it to the next level.
One way to do this is by strategically finding jobs in your “stack of hats” that you can pass off to trusted employees or other experts. The more hats you wear, the less ability that you have to perform money-making tasks excellently.
A 10 Minute, 3-Step Strategy to Identify When to Outsource.
Step 1 – How much will a mistake in this area cost you?
Youtube and Google are great resources. But would you trust yourself to set your child’s broken bone just because you watched someone do it online? Maybe if you were stranded in a jungle but for the most part, I am going to assume that you are responsible and would answer no. While there may be “jungle” seasons for the life of a business, most times, there are tasks that would actually end up costing you more if you make mistakes by doing it yourself.
This can vary from business owner to business owner depending on talents. Maybe you grew up with a contractor for a father so you are actually super qualified to make that repair to the roof. But if not, will DIY-ing the repair cost you further trouble or liability with your insurance or with your customers if it goes wrong? Maybe that seems like a far-fetched example. The area we see this most frequently happening is with financials, taxes and payroll. These areas are the easiest to think you can just ask a friend for some advice, do a little googling and you are good to go.
Mistakes here can literally end up costing you and your business in fees and penalties. The money you save in fees by not hiring professional services is not worth the stress and cost you will incur if mistakes are made.
→ Identify what areas you are taking risks in based on your particular skill set.
Step 2 – Are you investing your valuable time for the biggest financial return?
Remember that business owner whose dad was a contractor? Say he does take the time to fix the roof and he does a bang up job. Cool. But what was he supposed to be doing when he was taking the time to fix the roof? My guess is at least four other things were vying for his time.
The key here is to identify tasks that drive the value and profit-engine of your company. YOU were the one who had the idea, the guts to go out there and start this business and the smarts to keep it going this far. If you sat down to work out the math, you probably can’t afford to pay you what you are worth.
→ Remember this as you prioritize your tasks.
It is probably cheaper to hire a contractor or outsource your payroll and marketing than it is to have to hire a CEO to make sure your company is staying competitive in the marketplace.
When you think about things that no one else can contribute to your company but you, these are often captured as you think through your company culture (team AND people’s experience of your brand in the marketplace) and your strategic clarity (including sales and product strategy). This doesn’t mean that other team members and mentors will not contribute to these things but your time is best valued in these areas, as you serve the forward momentum and stability of your company.
→ Identify the tasks on your to-do list that HAVE to get done but are a waste of YOUR time.
Step 3 – How can you give away some hats?
OK, have your list? The one that includes the tasks where you are either taking unnecessary risks or not investing your time for the greatest return? Look this over as you consider your team.
→ Think of your team both in terms of time they may have in their current schedules AND talents they may have that you are under-utilizing.
Be willing to admit where you are struggling to let go of the reigns and let someone else on your team learn to do some of the tasks that are on your plate (and even make the same mistakes that you did!). Often times small business get stuck so deeply in the daily grind. When you stop and evaluate, you may find that you were doing things for outdated reasons and a shifting around of responsibilities would more efficiently utilize your team and better drive your company forward.
After you do this, what’s left on the list? These are the items that you should strongly consider making a financial investment into for the long term profitability of your company. This could be making another employee hire but often it is most cost efficient to outsource to a firm or agency who specializes in these areas. Be choosy and find a firm that serves the vision and culture of your company — remember those two things that YOU are the main keeper and investor!
Employing this strategy will help you become a sustainable and profitable company that YOU are strategically moving forward and upward in the marketplace.