I’m frequently asked: ‘when should I bring in help to my small business?’ The answer is almost always ‘sooner than you think you should’. But here are 8 sure-fire questions to work out whether you could benefit from getting in help right now.
#1 Are you bringing in money?
You don’t need to have much money to get help your business, even if it’s spending $5 to get a banner designed for your website. But you should know what you’re trying to achieve and have an idea of how you plan to get there. This on it’s own isn’t enough to justify delegation, but just one more ‘yes’, and you should be considering it.
#2 Are you spending time on things you’re not good at?
If you’re struggling with tech, battling with copywriting or beating yourself up over bookkeeping, the chances are that you’re doing it to, at best, a very average level. If it’s essential to your business, then it’s time to bring in help. Either look for someone who can do it better (and probably faster) than you, or get someone to train you to do it better (and faster).
#3 Could you be making more money if you had more time?
If yes, then it’s almost certainly a no-brainer for you to be outsourcing some of your lower value work. This is especially true if you run a time-for-money business, but even if you don’t, consider whether there are ways you could use your time better to directly impact your income.
#4 Can you think of at least 3 tasks that you do regularly that don’t need your unique skills?
That might be loading up blogs or social media content, formatting newsletters, researching travel arrangements, dealing with client enquiries or making appointments. These are perfect tasks for a virtual assistant (VA). By finding someone to take on your regular jobs, you’ll free up time and mental space.
#5 Do you respond well to being accountable to someone?
If you find that things slip because you’re answering only to yourself, then bringing in help might be a great way of transforming your mindset. Simply committing to writing a newsletter for your VA to send out once a week, or agreeing with your web developer to get copy written by Tuesday can really make things happen. Consider looking for someone who’s able and willing to keep you on track by reminding you and helping you plan your priorities.
#6 Do you regularly have tasks in your day that drain your energy?
There’s nothing more guaranteed to take the edge off running a business than spending time on things that kill off your mojo. There’s a myth in some areas of small business that says that running a business has to be miserable. Don’t stand for it. Write down the things you hate. Get help.
#7 Do you have a project you’ve wanted to get off the ground for more than a few weeks?
If you’ve got an amazing vision for something new, fun, revenue-generating or game-changing, it’s going to take time, energy and skills to make it happen. And the best way to get those things right now is to buy them. Sit down and do an audit of what time, energy and expertise you’re going to need, and start looking for people to work with.
#8 Do you repeatedly tell yourself, ‘I’ll have more time next month’?
As a species, we’re woefully bad at anticipating future commitments. What’s more, all the research shows that, even when we know that we’ve always got it wrong in the past, we continue to believe that things will be different this time. If you’re putting off things ‘until you have more time’, stop. Work out what it is you really want to do, and bring in the help you need to either get it done or to free up your time to work on it yourself.