When you started your business you dreamed of creating and serving food, hearing the hustle of a salon or the quiet of a spa, or seeing patients in your very own office. Then you had to hire people, file for licenses, fix a leaky faucet, design your website, plan your office, install IT systems and now you find yourself not doing what you really love. And wasn’t that the point?
I’ve read a ton of articles and spoken to a lot of small business owners and there are a couple of pain points everyone agrees on. It’s exhausting and it’s overwhelming.
As a small business owner you are CEO, CFO, COO, IT, maintenance, receptionist, marketing, etc., etc. It can feel overwhelming. Whether you are just starting out or are at a point where your business is taking off but you’re not ready to take on another employee – what do you do?
The goal is to do what you do best and like to do. If you don’t like to do something, then you tend to put it at the bottom of the list – like me doing laundry, I wait until someone is screaming they don’t have any clean socks. But what if the task you like the least is extremely important like filing your annual business license forms or posting products on your Facebook account to draw in more customers? What if you want to upgrade your salon or office space, but have no idea where to start? Then you need to outsource.
Outsourcing can be a very scary decision. It can feel like you’re giving up some control over your business. But do you have a choice? How much money are you losing by not seeing clients or not growing your business because you’re drowning in administrative work?
First, determine your pain point. What is the task that gives you the most pain? Whether that’s because you hate doing it, you don’t feel like that’s your strength, or you’re simply running out of time in the day.
Second, is your pain point a short term issue? or a long term issue? If short term – then find a temporary employee or consultant that can help you get over the hump. If it’s long term – then you need to determine if this is a task to be outsourced or hire a permanent employee.
Third, sit down and outline what you need help with. Be specific where you can – need help setting up my new POS system or creating business social media pages. Be general if necessary – I need help determining if I need a new POS system and then researching which one is right for me or I need help creating a social media / marketing plan.
Fourth, don’t be afraid to move forward, DO be cautious when interviewing consultants or employees. Be sure to have a predetermined list of interview questions. Know what tasks you want them to handle for you. Outline your expectations including hours needed, communication methods, code of conduct (for both employees and consultants). If you are hiring a consultant, include when reports and summaries are due, an out clause for both of you and who owns the work.
That last part may seem strange, but some companies will cite work product is owned by them even if being performed for you. So if you have them create an HR manual, marketing collateral, policies or procedures – make sure everything is owned by you and they must give you electronic editable copies of all work completed.
If you’re not sure of how to tackle this task or this just seems overwhelming, then brainstorm with friends, speak to someone in your local chamber of commerce, other entrepreneurs or a business consultant that’s willing to do a free consultation.
The important thing to remember is, do you want to run your business? Or do you want it running you?