As a small business owner, you are most likely a DIY-er who prefers to be involved in every aspect of your business operations. That is why it isn’t surprising to find that many small business owners struggle with delegating tasks or outsourcing projects to consultants or freelancers.
The truth is: while I understand that your business is your baby – just as TheCopywritingChick is my baby too – focusing on mundane tasks that can be outsourced or delegated leaves you doing the same thing over and over again and achieving less productivity. Plus, you are at the risk of suffering from burnout, mental stress and not doing the major task you are supposed to do as the owner of the business – running the business!
Furthermore, the lack of enough capital might see small business owners take on every facet of their business in order to save money. However, as your business grows and you generate more revenue, it’s better that you begin to outsource needs that are better answered by experts in the field.
Once you’ve interviewed and selected a consultant, ensure you draft a contract that addresses the following areas:
- Terms (time frame, description of services to be provided, etc).
- Conditions of termination of the agreement.
- A statement of independent contractor status.
- Confidentiality clauses.
- Non-disclosure clauses.
Here are five areas your business would most likely need consultancy services:
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Accounting and bookkeeping are one of the most important foundations of a business. After all, you are in business to make money while solving the pain points of your target consumers. If you are in doubt, here’s a part of what a bookkeeper or accountant can do for your business:
- Submitting invoices.
- Paying bills.
- Doing payroll.
- Preparing the company accounts for tax reasons.
When you hire a bookkeeper or accountant for your small business, he/she will:
- Navigate the complexities of law you find difficult, break it down into simple and understandable terms for you and provide financial advice that would grow and manage your business.
- Suggest ways to reduce your taxes. For example, they can advise on whether or not to incorporate your business or if you should lease or purchase a commercial property for your business.
- Suggest recommendations on how to cut business costs and make more money.
While hiring an accountant might look like an expense in the beginning, it would become an investment in the long run.
Information Technology (IT) Services
Unless your business is in the Information Technology field or you are otherwise proficient with maintaining hardware devices and solving software issues, you need to hire an IT consultant. An IT consultant:
- Ensures valuable business data is backed up in case of emergencies.
- Sets up cloud computing services.
- Installs software systems.
- Provide training on hardware and software systems.
- Advises on technology upgrades and methods of using technology to streamline your business and improve productivity.
As someone who has helped a few clients with recruitment, I can confess that it is a painstaking process – one that would test your patience. It is also time-consuming. If you can’t afford the expense of having a dedicated human resources (HR) specialist or department for your small business, hiring a professional HR consultant is the next option.
A professional HR consultant can do the following for your small business:
- Recruit new employees or contract workers. They will also advertise job vacancies, interview and conduct background or reference checks.
- Handle disciplinary issues and work termination.
- Manage employee safety and welfare issues.
- Deal with employee orientation and organize training.
- Counsel employees.
- Avoid or reduce legal disparities by ensuring that employee complaints or disputes are properly handled.
- Stay atop and keep up updated on state/provincial and federal regulations regarding employees, such as wage laws, hours of work, holiday time, leave of absence, workers’ compensation, mandatory benefits, and reporting.
- Arrange for/provide optional benefits such as health, dental, vision, and disability insurance for employees and their families.
If you have a great product or service and no one knows about it, your business is as good as none.
Marketing helps put your small business in the faces of your target audience as well as retain them. If you can’t afford to have a sales and marketing department dedicated to achieving this, a sales consultant can come to your rescue.
The right marketing consultant for your business should have a high level of expertise in your industry and be able to bring in fresh ideas as well as tried and true advice on how to develop strategies and campaigns.
Marketing consultants can work with your business to establish and implement strategies based on:
- Your overall business goals.
- Your products or services.
- Your target users or clients.
- Your company’s role toward the competition.
They can also help with marketing your business via mediums such as:
- Social media campaigns (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Email marketing.
- Website and/or blog promotions.
- Splash pages and/or landing pages.
- Radio or newspaper ads.
- Press releases.
- Webinars or seminars.
- Influencer marketing.
- Business launches.
I used to think that having a lawyer, especially on a retainer, was a funny idea until I encountered an issue that needed the services of a legal expert. After that incident, let me just say that I’ve become an advocate for lawyers. Having a good business lawyer available is important for the following scenarios:
- Complex partnership agreements.
- Lawsuits involving partners, clients, shareholders, or employees.
- Legal action against your business by government agencies for issues such as licensing, tax disputes, or non-compliance with regulations.
- Legal action against your business by individuals or other (small) businesses.
- Real estate purchases or lease agreements
- Trademark or intellectual property rights issues.
- Franchise agreements.
- Selling or merging your business, or purchasing the assets of another business.
While it’s understandable that you want to be involved in every facet of your business, I’d recommend that you hire experts/consultants for tasks or needs that you can’t handle or don’t have the luxury of time to do.