I saw a post on LinkedIn recently from an economist entitled ‘The realities of Entrepreneurship’. It contained a hand drawn diagram with 18 different roles an entrepreneur has to play – from accountant to fund raiser to debt collector to marketer to strategist to secretary.
I disagree with the premise that entrepreneurs, small business people or managers need to do everything. That may be a trap you feel like you are in but it is a trap you can and should get yourself out of quickly.
Smart business people see the value in outsourcing expert help. It is much more efficient for several reasons.
You can‘t possibly have all those skills and be good at them all.
Even if you are good at most of those tasks you are used to doing them in a certain way. Outside help brings a new way of working or looking at things.
Harnessing the talent of others isn‘t about giving away control in your business.
You know your business better than anyone else. Expert help should be used where it helps you to run that business better or drives growth. It can be help with tasks that you can obtain more cheaply than doing it yourself or expertise that you don’t have.
A great example is data. As business owners and managers we all face the same problem. The problem is not having data, it is having too much data. You don’t know if it is good data or how to best make use of it. Many business owners are drowning with information but starving for wisdom.
Technology has an important, beneficial role to play here. It can help deliver real time data faster and sometimes at low cost. Sometimes you also need an expert to help you get the data that gives you the optimum insight into your business in a succinct form.
I have a US client for whom we provide that role of getting them data. They find it beneficial because things get done faster than they used to do them and we are giving them the right information and insights to help them manage their business. Getting a list of debtors and creditors used to take them months but we can get it to them almost instantly.
We find cost or cost saving is not always the issue or consideration when considering outsourced help. It can be more cost effective than having full time in house support. The biggest cost is often the missed opportunity of spending all of your time working in the business, instead of on your business.
Whether you are a business needing help or a business marketing yourself as expert help to other businesses here is a seven-point checklist for considering outsourced help.
- Is it strategic
- Is it liberating
- Does it give real time clarity
- Does it allow more informed decision making
- Is it consistent
- Is it easy to access
- Does it give peace of mind?
Scott Edden is a partner for Pitcher Partners, an accounting and business advisory firm based in the Hunter Valley.
Scott specialises in helping businesses make decisions and implement strategies to achieve profitable and sustainable growth. Scott has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Newcastle, is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.