“I don’t need help. I can do that!”
“I can do it all myself!”
“No, I’ll do it!”
Sounds just like most toddlers I know. Problem is, I’m referring to adults. Not just any adults either, but adults that have invested in themselves and taken the huge risks of entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, this same stubborn “I can do it myself” mentality can often be the downfall of what would otherwise be a successful business.
So often small business owners are compelled to tackle every part of their business on their own due to cash flow restrictions. As owners, we attempt to manage our own bookkeeping, marketing, logo design, website development, sales, product development and provision of the product or service that we created our business for in the first place. I’ve been guilty of it myself. But, we, as true entrepreneurs, need to step back and take a look at all of the activities that we manage and truly assess if we are saving ourselves money, or actually costing ourselves more in the long run by limiting sales with our “do it all” mindset.
I encourage business owners to make a list of all of the things they do for their business themselves. It will be a long list indeed. Now, with fresh eyes, really assess the items on your list. Look for two things: the stuff you really don’t like doing and the stuff that someone else could definitely do better than you. Those are the areas you need to have an employee manage or tasks you need to hire a professional to do.
The first obvious area that came to light for me was bookkeeping. There are many companies or individuals that can manage accounts receivables/payables and even generate reports for analysis at a very reasonable rate. Get a few quotes and, instead of thinking about how much you would have to pay someone else to keep the books, think about how much more of your product or service you would have to sell to cover those costs. Probably not nearly as much as you think. Then think about how much you could sell if you devoted ALL of the time you spend on bookkeeping to sales instead. Could you actually be making money by having someone else do it?
Another area I often see businesses use the “do it yourself” mindset is in website development. I will be the first to admit that building a quality, search engine-optimized website isn’t cheap. But it is the face or first impression of so many businesses, so why would you want those impressions to be poor? Unless you have a degree in website design, this needs to be an investment that is made right from the start of your business. Sometimes it just takes a different perspective in assessing costs – not asking how much it is costing you to build, but how much it is costing you in lost revenue because you don’t have it.
A final angle to evaluate the long list of items you do yourself is by deciding what you do best. What do you love and really excel in doing? Now evaluate how to get the rest of the items on someone else’s to-do list and focus where YOU are most successful. The financial benefits will follow!