As a small business owner, you likely take on multiple roles in your organization. From staff bookkeeper to social media manager, you may find yourself doing a little bit of everything. But you’re only one person, and though you need to be aware of everything that’s going on in your business, that doesn’t mean you need to or should be doing it all.
We’ve sought a lot of feedback from women who are running businesses or planning startups to help develop relevant content for Wobizzle.com. A few of those sources offered cautionary tales of lessons learned the hard way because they applied the DIY method in areas of their businesses where they really didn’t have expertise.
It’s tough when you are working with a very limited budget (or no budget at all) to allocate funds to something that you think you might be able to do yourself, but you need to consider whether doing the job yourself will truly save you money. Here are a few questions to ask to help you decide whether to roll up your sleeves or call in a pro.
Do You Have the Money to Spend? Of course, this is the first question that needs answered. If you don’t have the money to spend, then you may need to take on the task yourself. But before you jump in, ask yourself how important the project is to your business right now. If it’s mission critical, then you may want to proceed on your own. If it’s something that is not an immediate priority, consider putting it on hold until you have the resources to get it done right.
If cash flow is low, consider trade. Some freelancers or other small business owners might be open to trading services. For example, my hair stylist has a standing line of trade with a massage therapist. Their hourly rates are compatible so she trades a haircut for a massage on a regular basis. Always approach a trade proposal on the front end, to make sure the service provider is open to the idea. And, you may want to get the agreement in writing so both you and your provider know what to expect.
Do You Have the Skills? If you’re operating on a shoestring budget, but have a knack for bookkeeping, it might be a good decision to do that yourself until you have the cash flow to hire it out. But if numbers aren’t your thing, you will be much better off if you call in a professional. The same goes for tech tasks like IT and website development, and creative services like graphic design, copywriting, etc.
Freelancers can often be a more affordable option than hiring the services of a larger organization. Put an appeal out within your network to find quality freelancers in the areas where you need help. Websites like Upwork can also help connect you with professionals that can provide the services you need at rates you can afford.
What’s Your Time Worth? Knowing the value of your time is critical. Consider how much time it will take you to complete the task or project and what that equals in lost revenue. If you could be generating revenue for your business instead, or if your time/talent could be better spent doing something else to grow your business, then it’s worth the investment to outsource the job to a professional.
Making good choices about where you spend your money and your time are critical to the ongoing success of your business. Keep in mind, if you choose to go the DIY route on tasks or projects where you lack expertise, you may end up having to pay a professional to clean up your mess later, which could cost you more than it would have to have them do it in the first place.