If you’re running a small business all by yourself, you’ve likely become a master at figuring things out. Maybe you’ve taught yourself how to create a WordPress blog. Design a logo. Manage your finances. But just because we micropreneurs have our fingers in multiple pots doesn’t mean we’re particularly good at most of them. For me, design is the bane of my existence. I want my logo and website to look good … and that means I need to get out of my own way and let a professional handle it.
Delegation is the name of the game here. If a task takes you longer than it would take someone who does that task for a living, or if your efforts jeopardize your company’s reputation (and believe me, a shoddy logo can do just that), you need to hand the keys over to a professional.
Be honest with yourself. Which of these tasks are you doing poorly?
If you’re like me, you loathe the idea of paying anyone to do anything. And while there are some great design tools out there that help novices make great visual pieces (Canva is a favorite), there comes a time where hiring a graphic designer or Web designer is essential.
You want the image you portray on the Web to attract potential business, not repel it. But if you’re trying to design your own logo or site, you might actually be giving off an unprofessional vibe, and that’s the last thing you want to do.
Maybe your finances are fairly straightforward (so far, mine are), and you have no trouble managing your business accounts. But if you let those expenses pile up without reviewing and categorizing them in your accounting software, you’ll have quite a knot to unsnarl come tax time. I know it sounds like hiring an accountant would be way out of your price range, but you can find one at a pretty decent rate if you only need a few hours of help a month.
Speaking of taxes, aren’t you tired of spending weeks trying to figure out what you owe before Tax Day? Think of all the other things you could be giving your attention to — like making more money. A tax professional knows all the deductions your business qualifies for (hello, home office deduction!) and may be able to net you a bigger refund.
4. Rote Tasks
Whether this means sending invoices or proposals, creating reports, or making copies, you’ve got better things to spend your time on. Hire an intern, a receptionist, or a virtual assistant to help.
I’m lucky enough to be married to a guy who knows how to restart the WiFi, fix what’s broken in my WordPress, or troubleshoot why my site’s not working (um, did I renew it?). But if I wasn’t married to someone like him, I’d find someone who could help. There are IT consultants who offer packages to help you keep your computers and hardware running smoothly, and then there are people who can help with the software. In today’s era of technology, you can’t afford to be offline for long.
I exclude myself from this one because I write for a living, but you probably don’t. So if you get writer’s block every time you sit down to write a blog post, or if your lack of skill in this department is keeping you from venturing into whitepapers and other types of content marketing, it’s time to hire a pro.
This is another area where, if you’re weak in or simply don’t have the time to invest, your business suffers. And again, it’s probably cheaper than you think to hire a freelance marketer or agency that caters to small business. You can get a monthly package of services that include whatever you need: social media management, blog management, PR, et cetera. This is one investment that definitely will pay for itself over time.
It’s taken me years to learn the art of delegation, but each time I’ve brought on someone with specialized skills, I have reaped the benefits.
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Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts for the software industry. She’s written three books: DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as CorpNet, Small Business Trends, Chamber of Commerce, and ScheduleBase. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.