The bane of the small business owner.
It is the small business owner’s big problem: they have to do everything! In a recent broadcast on BBC’s radio four on the subject of being self employed, this was one of the topics discussed. It is particularly true for start ups and one man businesses such as consultants, tradesmen etc. As well as doing their “proper” work of, for instance, plumbing, they also have to keep their books, answer correspondence, deal with the tax man, prepare quotes, send out their invoices and, dread of all dreads, get more business. And, they are often not equipped to carry out many of these functions. They do not have the training, aptitude or inclination to do them. It is not what they went into business to do. Consequently the functions often consume excess amounts of time, causing the business owner to have to work excessive hours or not do paid work. The work is often done badly, giving a poor impression of the business. Deadlines are often missed, leading to penalties or lost business. In a previous articles about keeping good accounting records and business failures, I drew attention to other consequences of poor back room functions such as book-keeping.
Businesses need to do the back room functions.
Businesses need to carry out all of the back room functions mentioned above and many more so, I hear you say, what is to be done? What is the answer? The answer is although they do have to be done, the business owner does not have to do everything. He can delegate some of these functions. I know that as a small business, perhaps even a one man band, you do not have the staff to delegate to. Well, you do. It is called “outsourcing”. There are plenty of virtual assistants and book-keepers around that could take away the administrative burden. And, there are freelancers who will do your marketing and selling for you.
It costs too much.
One of the arguments against using third parties to is that small businesses cannot afford them. I would suggest, though, that small businesses cannot afford not to get help. Unless the business has margins that are so low that they cannot afford the help, in which case they are probably not viable anyway, the cost of employing a virtual assistant or book-keeper is more than made up by the increase in business that can be achieved whilst not doing these menial tasks. Or, they can do things such as spending time with friends and family or generally recharging their batteries, activities that are often overlooked by small business owners at their peril.
What are you doing that others could do?
So, as a business owner you need to ask yourself “What am I doing that I could get someone else to do for me”, get rid of it and free yourself of the burden!