As a business owner, it’s not uncommon to wear multiple hats. In fact, I’ve always thought of myself as the chief cook and bottle washer. That being said, there are some things I’m very good at—and others I could use some help with.
Whenever your business faces a growth opportunity, it’s natural to consider whether or not you need to hire someone with experience to help you. This could be in the form of a new employee, a consultant, or an outside firm or contractor.
From bookkeeping and accounting, to marketing, web development and sales expertise, there are service companies that can help meet your needs if you opt not to hire someone. This makes sense for a lot of small businesses.
Some estimates put the cost of hiring and ramping up a new employee at around $4,000, but more experienced employees could cost even more. With that in mind, engaging a firm or working with a freelancer could be a viable option. Either way, here are four questions to ask yourself to determine if it’s time to seek professional help:
1. Is there expertise I need, but don’t have?
It would be unreasonable to assume that everyone is a master of every skill required to run a business—although I’ve known some who thought they could do it all. It doesn’t mean you’re not capable, but at some point most business owners have to decide where it makes the most sense to spend their time.
I have a friend and associate who, after several years in business, decided he wasn’t the marketer he previously thought he was, and his time would be better spent focusing on his role as CEO, rather than CEO and VP of Marketing. He was a capable marketer, but he recognized there were things he didn’t know, and he needed someone with specific marketing expertise. He knew enough to recognize a talented guy he could hire—he opted to keep the skill in-house, rather than go with a contractor. He empowered his hire to build a marketing department that helped take his business to the next level, and was able to leverage that professional expertise into additional profits for the company.
2. Is there more to do than I have hours in the day?
A lot of small business owners spend their entire careers as sole proprietors who rely on freelance or temporary workers to get them over a particularly busy couple of weeks. That being said, most businesses don’t seem to be able to maintain the status quo indefinitely. If your business is growing beyond anticipated seasonal fluctuations, and it’s becoming difficult for you to keep up, it might be a good time to consider bringing in professional help.
This is also a good time to bring new skills into your organization. Many entrepreneurs will evaluate their core strengths and look for people with complementary skills who can help the company grow and be more profitable.
3. Where does it make the most sense to spend my time?
It’s easy to get bogged down in all the minutiae of day-to-day business operations. When I was running my own business, I always put off the bookkeeping part of my business until the end of the day. I did that because it wasn’t what I loved about running a small business, and because there were other things I could do better.