We have looked at a couple of parts of the way to understand Time Management as a Small Business Owner. These relate to how you are spending time on those of your primary concern – Your Customers. By understanding who is a likely customer and who you want to serve, you understand how to allocate your customer facing time and resources.
But what about everything else that you do?
You don’t spend 100% of your time landing customers or delivering quality products and services. You have books to keep, invoices to write, bills to pay. We all do as business owners. You can certainly do all those things yourself. But are you doing yourself a disservice? The thing to think about here is opportunity cost. If you spend more time on your primary focus, will you make more money? You certainly will. It is more than likely that having a 3rd party do your back office work for you will more than pay for your time.
As your company grows, these challenges become even more important as the service providers will have technical knowledge that you don’t have. You will face that at the start when you work with an attorney on forming your business. But most businesses don’t need help again from their attorney for a long time. But a Payroll company will help make sure that your employee programs are in compliance with labor laws. For example, here in California there was a big shift last year when Part Time Employees were required to get sick time. Many businesses were unaware of the change in the laws and the penalty for being out of compliance can be steep.
But you will also need to look at your Marketing Programs. Most people I know want to be able to Market and Sell their products and services face to face. The challenge is that this does not scale very well. So, we all need mechanisms to promote our businesses that go beyond our direct ability to communicate. This article is an example of that, but so is print advertising, hiring appointment setters, or having a web site. These are all forms of outsourcing your ability to attract customers to your business.
There is a thread here all about having people that will spend time on your business but are not your direct employees. The question is how do you select them, choose what to outsource, and how to make sure that they are doing what you want. Just like anything else, you need to have goals for the relationship. Walk into these service providers with an idea of what you want and what you need. Many of them will have packages that you can choose from. These may offer benefits or just be more than you need. Until you have defined what you are looking for from the provider, you will not be sure. The best way to solve this is to have an equivalent of a job description for your service provider. Have a written list of duties to be performed. Check off their expertise to solve the specific problems. Get reference customers to be able to provide feedback on some specific duties that you want them to perform. Then review the work on a quarterly (at first) and perhaps an annual basis. Have a plan to change providers if they have not performed.
Have a great day!
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