You’re the owner or partner in a new startup business. You have no time. You have no money. And, you’re so busy that you feel like your rear end is on fire! Can you do everything yourself? Should you even try? Or, should you outsource some tasks to others? And if so, what is the criteria for outsourcing some tasks to outsiders?
There is a point at which every small business owner realizes they stink at handling certain tasks, and they find themselves wishing (or secretly crying) for help with some aspect of their business. If you’re reading this article and nodding your head, you may be at that point!
As your business grows, you will find that some tasks are best outsourced to others, and it’s well worth to hand off some tasks if you can afford the expense.
But before you outsource anything, ask yourself some basic money questions like:
- How much money do I have now?
- How much money (if any) is coming in?
- What’s my burn rate, or how fast am I running through my cash? And how long do I have before I’m out of money?
In my first startup 27 years ago, my partner and I had close to zero money, so we had to be very tight with our spending. We really couldn’t afford to outsource much of anything!
Assess your strengths and weaknesses, asking questions like:
- What types of tasks can I possibly do myself?
- What types of tasks do I have a horrible time doing myself…that usually end in disaster?
When we first started our business, we did nearly everything ourselves, with the exception of hiring an attorney to handle the original incorporation documents for us. Other than that, we handled everything, such as building our own computers, doing our own sales, marketing, graphics, etc. You name it, we did it!
Learn from our mistakes
We handled our own accounting for a while, but it was sloppy. As our business grew, we quickly had to hire an outside accountant (CPA) to clean up the problems we were causing on our tax returns. Now I have an in-house staff who handle my payroll and accounting, but I still rely on an independent CPA to audit our financial statements and other processes. These are tasks I will gladly let others handle!
In the early days, my partner and I also went without insurance because we were broke and had no assets worth insuring. But, as soon as the business showed signs of life, we met with an insurance agent to help protect what we were starting to create. And, it’s a good thing that we did get insurance, because four years into our startup, one of our employees accidentally blew up a laundromat, and we were liable. You may feel like chancing it, but insurance is vital — you just never know what is going to happen when you own a small business — trust me!
In any startup, you’re going to have to wear many hats, and if you’re broke, you may have to wear every hat for a while. But there should come a time when you realize that you can’t do everything yourself — and that’s okay. The sooner you enlist the help of trusted business advisors to handle what you’re just not good at, the better!
If you have any advice on this I’d welcome comments below.
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