Most small business owners begin by doing everything themselves. Soon, the business begins to grow, and those entrepreneurs can quickly go from the heady feeling of freedom to the crushing burden of wearing all the hats.
When you find yourself with not enough time in the work day– or no end to your work at all – it's time to analyze how you're spending your time, and creating a plan to make sure that everything gets done, and your time is used most profitably.
Your Time Is Your Company's Most Valuable Asset
Take a look at what you do over the course of a week; write it down. How much time are you spending on necessary, but low-skill level tasks like cleaning the office? Are you doing skilled tasks like bookkeeping that are outside your specialty? Those tasks are probably taking you longer to accomplish than they would take a specialist to do.
It's a common pitfall among small business owners to look at the costs of hiring someone to do these tasks and think, "I can do that for free." You may be able to do them without paying money to someone else, but it's far from free. What's your bill rate when you're working for a client? Any time you're working on something that is outside your core skill set, you are, in a very real sense, paying that bill rate for your own time, because you're sacrificing the opportunity to be using your time profitably.
What Should You Keep And What Should You Hand Off?
Anything that can be done by another person who makes significantly less than your bill rate should be at the top of your list: Cleaning, answering phones, booking travel, and running errands, for example.
Obviously, things like taxes and contracts – things that will cost you directly if they're done wrong – are best left to specialists. You may be able to do them yourself, but unless you are an accountant or attorney, you probably won't do them as efficiently as a specialist, and if you do them yourself, you are solely liable for any mistakes. Attorneys and accountants will use their specialized and continually updated knowledge to handle these tasks as swiftly as possible, and they carry professional insurance, just in case.
Marketing is another critical area where many small business owners either spend far too much of their own time to do an effective job, or they simply don't have enough time to do an effective job. Between managing a website with strong SEO, a continual stream of fresh content, and a sales funnel that actually develops leads and converts visitors to buyers; juggling multiple social media platforms; and developing and executing a sound strategy for advertising and direct marketing campaigns, marketing is really time-consuming. Worse, if you're not staying abreast of the latest trends, and changes to search engine and social media platform algorithms, you may be spending a lot of your coveted time doing things that are ineffective. Working with a professional marketing firm is a sound financial decision because it frees up your time while your business' online presence, brand recognition, and bottom line grow. This one outsourcing investment can produce an impressive return in a fairly short time.
Do What You Do Best
Aside from issues of efficiency and liability, there's one over-arching reason for you to stick to doing what you do best. When you're doing the thing you love, the thing you excel at, you are building a stronger company by turning out the best work and products possible, and by showing the confidence and positivity that come from a job well done.