Are you starting to feel a bit like a one-person band at your small business? Or maybe like a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none? Ok, cliches aside, if you started your small business by yourself, or with just a partner or two, and now it’s taking off, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with tasks that aren’t really your strong suit, and that you shouldn’t necessarily be putting your time and energy into.
Sure, it’s great to learn how to handle every aspect of your business’ operations, but there comes a time when you need to hire help in order to keep growing, and we’re not just talking about constantly adding salespeople or other employees that are directly relevant to getting your product or service to more customers. We’re talking about building up a support system of employees who can handle some of the behind-the-scenes tasks, and free you up to do what you’re best at: running your business. So what might you need outside help with as your business takes off?
When you’re just starting out, doing your taxes and keeping your books is annoying and tedious, but as your business grows, it can become downright problematic to stay on top of your finances. You’ll end up spending too much of your precious time and energy on these tasks, and you could end up making mistakes that a professional wouldn’t make. And accounting software is great, but the simplified versions you’re likely using probably won’t cut it anymore once you’ve expanded to a certain point, so you’ll need to think about taking on a CPA or a bookkeeper, or both. Finding a trustworthy financial professional will mean you’ll be spending as little time as possible dealing with all of the day-to-day invoicing and bookkeeping that’s plaguing you!
And it’s not just the whole “taking one more thing off your plate” factor that makes a financial professional such a necessary hire: they don’t just know how to do your taxes, they know the best way to do them. For example, as CPA Micah Fraim points out, “When it comes to taxes, non-financial professionals often look at taxes and find ways to ‘save on taxes’. But that mindset isn’t exactly right. Making decisions with tax ramifications as the primary driver is somewhat missing the point, isn’t it? We aren’t in business to save on taxes, we’re in business to make more money.” A professional can help you to look at your taxes and bookkeeping in the most effective way possible.
As we mentioned above, if you’re expanding your business, you’re probably also hiring employees that are directly related to your day-to-day operations – and that means all sorts of other issues coming up, like benefits management, payroll, tax forms, background checks, and even the actual hiring and onboarding of your employees, including determining how much to pay them.
You might not need a massive HR department for your small business, but you should consider at least bringing on an HR consultant, who can:
- Help with with recruitment (for example, advertising open positions), interviewing, and doing reference checks
- Lead employee training sessions and orientations
- Inform and enforce compliance regulations, like wage laws and workers comp
- Arrange employee benefits, like health insurance, 401k’s, etc
Here’s a big one – and maybe a controversial one: should you bring on an external marketing team? Sure, you might think doing it yourself is sufficient, and you’re probably sending out email blasts, doing some posting on social media, and creating banner ads. But there might come a time when you just don’t have the extra hours or know-how to develop a long-term and well analyzed marketing strategy; in this case, you really should consider taking on help in this area. For example, many businesses have multiple team members working on marketing, which could include employees like a:
- Campaign strategist, who will tell you where you should (and shouldn’t) be investing your marketing dollars
- Marketing representative, who implements the marketing strategy
- Social media manager
- Analyst, who interprets data to make sure your campaigns are targeted – and working!
- Web designer
- Content strategist, who develops and deploys content
If you don’t have a ton of resources to spend on a whole marketing team, though, you can also consider bringing on a marketing consultant to pick up some of the work for you, and who can help with things like planning, scheduling, strategy, etc in the following areas:
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Print advertising
- Blog content creation
When it comes to press or public relations, this might be a necessary hire for certain types of businesses who really want to increase their standing in their industry. If you just don’t have the connections necessary yet, a PR professional that specializes in your industry can head straight for their contacts list and get your name out to news outlets, trade publications, and conferences.
When it comes to legal advice, you probably won’t need a full-time attorney on staff (unless you’re in certain industries), but it is vital that you know who to turn to when you need help. This can mean having someone you make appointments with when needed, or even keep on retainer, and who can help you deal with:
- Drafting and negotiating contracts
- Complaints filed against your business
- Employee issues
- Figuring out how to structure your business
- Negotiating the sale of your business, acquiring a new business, or franchising your business
If you’re in the tech business, you can probably safely ignore this advice, but if you’re not, you need to think about getting some sort of tech guidance. Ok, maybe you know how to set up your employees’ email accounts, but are you really willing to put your time and energy into managing the centralization of all of your business’ information and data, and would you be able to effectively deal with any tech problems that come up? An pro can help with repairs, but can also help you get ahead of any IT issues by doing things like:
- Ensuring all data is backed up
- Providing thorough training on devices and software systems
- Helping with technology upgrades
- Securing your systems to protect you from cybercrime
Now is the time to look for IT help – you certainly don’t want to be doing it after a data breach or hard drive crash!
We get it, your business is your baby – but you know what? It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a team to grow a business! You’ve done a great job getting your business where it is, but to keep growing you might need to step back and find some outside help, whether it’s through hiring a full-time team or outsourcing certain tasks, so you can focus your energy on taking things to the next level.