As a small business, your time is extremely valuable. You only have so much of it in a day. When you work as a lone owner, a common issue is that the business time tends to grow, eating up your family and fun time.
Working longer hours is not a sustainable long-term solution. But with so many things to get done, it often feels like that is the only answer. The reality is that there are a few tasks that you can outsource, normally for a relatively small cost each month that can free up your time.
So, let’s look at five different sections of your business that you can outsource to free up time. Each thing you outsource has pros and cons. You must offload the right tasks to the right person to lessen your stress. You should also consider how comfortable you are letting go of that task.
This is probably one of the first places many small businesses look to outsource. Accounting and bookkeeping tasks can take up a large amount of time in your business. They are also an easy area that can get you into hot water.
Taxes, invoicing, and handling bills are important tasks. Unless you are good with numbers and enjoy learning about tax issues, this task is probably better outsourced as soon as you can. Accountants can handle tracking your books, paying bills, and preparing documents for tax purposes.
You should find someone that you trust. Make sure you interview prospective companies to see what they will handle, and how they work. Some companies will want you to enter some of the data and they will keep everything neat, whereas others will allow you to forward everything to them and they will take care of it.
Since your books are critical to your business, I would strongly recommend shopping around and even talking to other local business others about who they use and how they like the service.
Graphic & Website Design
It may seem like a little thing, but a logo is quite important to your business. So is your website. When it comes to making a great first impression, it often pays to outsource these tasks.
Your logo will appear on just about everything, from vehicles to invoices. You want a logo that is memorable and professional. A good graphic designer will know how to make your logo stand out and be able to provide complete branding materials for you.
A strong brand design is not just a logo, so consider finding a full branding designer who will help create a cohesive look across your entire business. They will help you choose colors and fonts among other things that work well together and meet accessibility guides.
By outsourcing a website, a good designer will ensure your site is up to legal standards. Things like privacy policies and web accessibility are very complex and always changing. And without someone looking out for you on these issues, you could end up in legal battles. Plus, a good designer will set up the site to give you insights into your site performance.
A good site also affects your bottom line. A well-functioning site will drive sales. A bad one will drive people away.
When hiring any designer, look at samples of the completed work. Ask for reviews. Learn about the process they use to do their work. Find out what they will need from you. Shop not only on price but on the knowledge of the designer. The cheapest price often will cut corners and leave you at risk.
Social Media Management
Like it or not, social media is here to stay. And it can be a pretty darn good way to get more business. But to use it effectively, you need to spend a decent amount of time using it. The algorithms take usage and engagement into account. This makes for a huge time suck when you are trying to run your business.
Hiring a social media manager can relieve this stress. They can create the content to post, handle posting it and respond to comments. They can fill the presence roll to help your accounts grow.
Hiring someone to manage your accounts requires finding someone you can trust. This person will have access directly to your potential customers. You need to be able to trust them in how they will handle things and the content they will produce. They and the content they produce need to represent your business and your brand. Find someone who matches your style.
You will want to find someone who will be able to create new content regularly. They will probably still ask you to be on your accounts and spend some time there. You will still have tasks to do. A good manager will start by asking you to review the content they create so they can learn your likes and dislikes.
Unless you are a writing pro, hiring someone to help create content for you is a great idea. When it comes to creating content, there are a few different types and different people will need to be hired for each type.
Contracts and legal documents should be run through a lawyer who will help you draft up a good document that will protect your business in the future. While you can probably spend time finding what you are looking for online, hiring a lawyer will ensure that what you find is a valid document and legal for your area.
Finding someone to help write your marketing materials will help get you more business. A good content person will be able to help you write website text or marketing brochures and ads that convert visitors into buying customers. Content creators should be able to ask you questions about your business and your goals to create the best possible content.
While you could use tools online to generate content, I highly recommend against it. Computer-generated content does not sound like a real person and often is confusing to people who try to read it.
You do not want to cut corners when it comes to creating content.
Hiring a virtual assistant can cover all kinds of aspects of your business. You can hire virtual assistants to handle the reading of your email and sort them so that unimportant emails are handled, and the important ones are marked for your attention.
Virtual assistants can also cover things like social media management or content writing. As the term has continued to evolve, the tasks that they can cover have become pretty much any admin task you can think of.
But this has also opened the field up to anyone and everyone looking to make a quick buck. If you are going to hire a freelancer virtual assistant, start by creating a list of tasks that you want to be completed. The best way to hire anyone is to have a well-documented process for how you need the task done.
Do thorough research and start a new assistant with small tasks. Find reviews, ask for references. Do not be afraid to let someone go if they are not a good fit, or you do not mesh well with them. These kinds of positions require the most trust to allow them to handle things without your constant eye watching over them. If you don’t click well, you might always question their work and it won’t be as useful to you.
These are some of the most common areas that you can outsource to free up your time. And outsourcing is a great way to continue to grow your business without hiring employees. Especially when the task is short-lived, or less than full time.
Remember, no matter what you do, it is your business. If something is not working out, change it. You started your business for the enjoyment and freedom it could bring. Outsourcing can help you keep it that way.