If you’re a small business owner, you probably consider yourself a jack-of-all-trades. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — it’s a trait that likely got your company off the ground in its earliest phases. Without a full complement of employees, there was only one person to perform the difficult tasks that needed to be completed: you.
As your business grows, however, so do its demands. There’s a point where the various tasks you’ve been performing yourself become too numerous or too complex for one person to handle. That’s the moment when you must take stock and realize you’re going to need some help if you want to get the job done right.
Some people think that asking for help is a sign of weakness. But the “my” in “my company” doesn’t mean it’s a one-person show. Offloading tasks to responsible and capable employees or contractors is the hallmark of a good business owner. Taking on so much that the quality of the work suffers isn’t good for your business. Outsourcing some of your tasks to staff or other professionals frees up your time and allows you to focus your efforts on growing your business.
If you find yourself being pulled in too many directions and burning the candle at both ends, read on for some suggestions on jobs you should offload to employees or contractors.
1. Administrative Tasks
Administrative tasks that eat up your valuable time include:
- Answering and returning phone calls
- Reading and replying to emails
- Monitoring and responding to social media inquiries
- Scheduling tasks, meetings, and appointments
These time-draining chores can keep you from running your company effectively, so you should consider outsourcing them. You can hire help for a few hours a week, or even contract a virtual assistant online.
2. Marketing Communications
In all likelihood, you’re not a professional writer or editor. Trying to write your own press releases, brochures, advertising, web content, and blog posts will probably result in typos, incorrect grammar, or copy that simply misses the mark. The solution? Hire a professional copywriter, public relations specialist or marketing agency to handle your communications tasks.
Think of it this way: the writing your company produces is likely to be your customers’ first point of contact with you. Don’t make a poor first impression with bad writing.
3. Website Creation and Maintenance
Every small business needs a website. The first step is building the site. Unless you’re a professional web developer, this probably isn’t something you can do yourself. You need the services of a web developer and designer. Once your website is up and running, you’ll need to add fresh content, optimize it for internet search engines, and make sure the site is impervious to hackers.
Even if you could manage to get a site up on your own, do you know what to do if the site goes down? Tasks like these need to be assigned to professionals.
4. Social Media
There has been some talk lately about whether the value of social media is waning. But if you consider that 81% of Americans have a social media profile, it’s not difficult to see why social media should be an important component of any marketing strategy.
If you’re managing your company’s social media pages, it’s taking up time you could be using to run your business. If your company doesn’t have a social media presence, it means you’re already too busy to keep up with it. Either way, it’s proof you need to turn your social media over to an expert. You can hire a firm experienced in handling social media campaigns, contract a freelancer, or delegate social media responsibilities to an employee with a lighter workload.
Running numbers is very important for any business. It’s also a task very commonly outsourced. Hiring an accountant to do your books can help prevent careless mistakes with disastrous consequences. You may also find that a fresh look at finances from a disinterested party is just what your business needs to spot areas of concern.
Be diligent in your search for a trustworthy CPA, however, because you may be the one on the line for your CPA’s mistakes if you are audited.
6. Tax Assistance
Not only does trying to do your own taxes take up your time — it can also get you into hot water with the IRS if you make a careless error. Using software like TurboTax may be inexpensive, but tax software isn’t going to represent you in court if you have a tax problem. Hiring a qualified tax professional is your best defense against running afoul of the tax code.
If one of your company computers breaks down in the middle of an important project, are you qualified to fix it? What about the important tasks of backing up the company computers, installing and maintaining antivirus software, installing and updating productivity software, and troubleshooting other hardware or software problems that may arise?
If you don’t have in-house IT staff, you’ll need to have someone on call to come into the office periodically and perform these tasks. Your business likely lives in your company’s computers, so be sure they are being maintained by a professional.
As a small business owner, you wear many hats. Delegating tasks will free up your time so you can apply it where it is most beneficial. Your organization will benefit from it, and the increased productivity could even save you money in the long run. And there’s another benefit: By reaching out and partnering with professionals in your area, you’ll be expanding your network, which could lead to more business.
What aspects of your company are you considering handing off to someone else? Do you have advice on how to transition from doing it all alone to working with others? Let us know in the comments.