Running out of timeLast week I found myself discussing with one of my clients, a chartered accountant, the many benefits of outsourcing. It made me realise just how much of a convert I am to this way of working (now!).

It took me about four years (an admission that is both shocking and embarrassing in equal measure) before I realised that I really couldn’t do every single thing myself – and that my business, and the reputation I’d worked so hard to build, could potentially suffer as a result. By trying to fulfil every task required of me as a small business owner I was putting at risk my core and expert skills, the very skills that people paid me to utilise for their own business benefit.

It was a hard lesson to learn, but the minute I started outsourcing anything outside of my core skillset, the stress levels lifted and I was so much more effective in my work as a marketing consultant.

I think it’s a very common experience amongst us small business owners – and I won’t even call it a ‘mistake’ because that feels a tad harsh. Let’s call it a ‘misconception’ instead. Small businesses have to look carefully at the cash flow and it’s natural to want to keep everything in house, paying someone else to do something you can feasibly do yourself – regardless of whether they might do it better in half the time – seems excessive and an unnecessary waste of money. And let’s face it sometimes we just don’t feel we have the money to cover it.

But we all need to know our limitations. And the reality is we simply cannot do everything in our business. Or, to rephrase that, we can try our hardest but we will run ourselves ragged and may even fail in the process. The worst case scenario is we may actually bring our business down, and stagnation could be considered the best case scenario. A harsh small business owner reality for us all.

One of the best decisions I made last year was to start using a VA for all the admin tasks that were taking away my focus from spending more time developing marketing strategies and campaigns for clients (i.e. the fee-earning element of my business) and allow me more time working on my own marketing to create more revenue. From simple tasks such as formatting my email newsletter, loading my blog posts, to picture or other desk research, having a VA has freed up an immense amount of time. Much more than the hours I actually pay for in fact – seems impossible but true!

Outsourcing can make the real difference between working ‘on’ your business to grow and move forward or getting bogged down in the daily grind of working ‘in’ your business and getting nowhere particularly fast. It can help accelerate your business growth and enable you to focus on doing the things that make your business a success. Like your marketing for instance!

Photo credit: Renjith Krishnan