Money is usually tight for start-up Entrepreneurs, but regardless of the investment, there are some things you should outsource. Too many times Entrepreneur’s are so busy working in their business, they aren’t working on their business. When you’re mired down in daily work that a hired staff could do more efficiently than you can alone, you aren’t using your time smart. Letting go of the daily control and the purse strings, can be a real challenge for Entrepreneurs when you first start out on your business journey. While you should be smart with your cash, sometimes intelligence lies in outsourcing.
Here are five things you need to outsource, even on a start-up budget, to grow into your big Entrepreneurial vision.
Hire An Assistant
While a full time Executive or Personal Assistant is a great idea, you can start much smaller and still have great results. So many businesses today operate almost entirely in a virtual environment, which is great news for you because that means you can hire a local or a virtual assistant. There are many ways to search for and recruit a full-time, or even part-time, assistant with great results. If you prefer someone local who can help around your home office, a great place to start is your local Craigslist. Place a compelling ad and be specific about what you want. Another great tip is to consider your budget and the quality of person you want. If you need more sophisticated help, but have a limited budget, consider offering fewer hours per week at a higher hourly rate to attract more qualified and skilled applicants. Alternatively, if you can get most of the help you need via the online world, then consider looking at a virtual assistant, who could be recruited from anywhere in the world. The key is good references, impeccable language skills (you need an assistant who sounds professional in email and over the phone) and that fits the qualifications you need. A few great sites to start your search include elance.com and oDesk.com.
Find A Bookkeeper
When you’re building your business, is doing the accounts payable really in your best interest? If you’re the visionary who leads your company does it really make sense for you to spend a few hours a week tracking your expenses and invoices, hunting down past-due bills or trying to pay the electricity bill? Don’t be a dummy. Hiring a quality, skilled bookkeeper even on a part time basis can save you a ton of time and that means save you money! You’d be surprised how many qualified home business based bookkeepers are out there, too. You don’t need to invest in a full time accounting department as a start-up, but hiring a competent bookkeeper means you’re taking your money seriously and leaving it to a pro to handle. One big mistake that many starting Entrepreneurs make is to hand this very important task over to a local college student, spouse or part-time virtual assistant. As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for — wouldn’t you like the person settling your books each month to know what they’re doing? Look for someone with certifications and education that match the skills you need. They can be home based or part-time, just make sure they have the qualifications. For more advice on what to look for in a bookkeeper, check out the National Association of Certified Bookkeepers website.
Secure An Accountant
If you have a bookkeeper, you don’t need an accountant, right? Wrong. These two crucial roles in your business have very different responsibilities. Your bookkeeper’s job is to keep the daily running of the business finances moving. They track your P&L, handle your invoicing and keep a handle on your outgoing expenses each month. Your accountant will work with the bookkeeper to use your records for your taxes; a bookkeeper will not be filing taxes for you. Your accountant will likely also be the one helping you to file your monthly or quarterly payroll tax requirements. Most importantly, your accountant is going to help guide your bookkeeper on how to set up your daily business systems and then periodically (like at tax time) they’ll help you interpret all your bookkeeping data to understand how your business is doing. Bookkeeping and accounting are probably the least invested in services of Entrepreneurs starting out and that’s a big mistake. Get a great accountant and you’ll be surprised by how well that pays off for your business in the long run. Here are some tips of what to look for when you hire your first accountant.
Get A Web Guru
Website design is a big initial investment for many start-ups. Understandably many try to avoid this cost by doing their website themselves. However, there are many reasons you should hire and secure a web guru and not try to do this on your own. In today’s culture the very first step most people take when researching a product or service is to Google it. If you have an unprofessional or non-optimized website, it can hurt you. A web designer or company can help keep your branding in tact, your website laid out properly for best results and can keep all your SEO and SEM running optimally. The other plus is that if (or more likely when) you have any server issues or website upgrade needs, you have a go-to person in place to address all your web needs. It can be an investment, but if you find the right team, getting a web guru will help save you time and optimize your business for a lifetime.
Contract Out Your Marketing
Marketing is one of those trades, like writing and bookkeeping, which for some reason people feel they can do themselves. This is a huge false message that you need to disregard right now if you’re inclined to think this way. Not everyone is good at marketing. In fact most people aren’t very good at marketing, even many professionals with a marketing background. Unless your company is a marketing company, you should be contracting your marketing out as a start-up. When you get to a growth phase where you can keep your marketing in-house, great. Until then, don’t believe this is something that you have the knowledge, time or skills to implement alone. A great marketing company is going to get you new business. They’re going to help you solidify your brand. They’re going to lead and guide you with market research and big, bold ideas. Be a professional and hire out your marketing.
Matthew Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Adam. Matthew is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.
Follow Matthew on Twitter: @matthewtoren