Small Business Owners Can’t Know Everything

One thing that is very common with my clients is that when I start explaining to them the fundamentals of internet marketing, search engine optimization, pay per click advertising etc, they seem very embarrassed that they do not know who everything I’m telling them about. They may be an expert in deep sea fishing or selling automotive parts and accessories, cutting hair or they may run at the ski lodge in the Japanese ski fields, yet they are still embarrassed that they do not know everything about the industry I am in.  I think this is common because as small business owners we all seem to want to be able to do everything and to control everything in our business. It’s very typical for a small business owner to feel this way, but when you think about it, it is not a very clever business attitude to have. It doesn’t matter whether our businesses are small businesses, medium businesses or big businesses, we really need to approach our businesses with a business mindset. We need to stop approaching at businesses with an ownership mindset or a job mindset.

This means we need to recognize where our core skills are. We need to recognize what tasks are crucial for us to undertake in the business and which tasks are better outsourced to others. The problem we face by trying to do everything and trying to be expert in everything, is that when we do this our time is not used efficiently. And this becomes the greatest cost to running a business. Our time is the most important asset we bring to our business. Sure we may save a few dollars on the input side of our business here and there by doing everything, but the cost of this is always the additional dollars we lose that our business would have earned if our time was being used more efficiently. Remember, running a business is about making money, it isn’t about saving money. You cannot run a business’s budget in the same way as you run your personal budget. The purposes of the business budget and a personal budget are two extremely different things.  For example, you may be a plumber also doing all your own bookkeeping. Because you are not an expert bookkeeper, it may take you five hours a month to do what an expert bookkeeper can do in two hours and charge you $20 per hour to do. So by spending the five hours by doing your own bookkeeping, you save $40. But the cost on the other side is the money you could have made if you spent the five hours doing plumbing work. Now I am not sure how much you charge for your time, but I know that a plumber charges more than $20 per hour. Given also the additional time taken to complete the task due to a lack of expertise, the cost becomes quite large.
But you might say, you did the bookkeeping after hours. It doesn’t matter – you are still working. If you were spending this time doing plumbing, the thing you are expert at and probably enjoy, you could probably charge penalty rates and therefore, doing it after hours is even more expensive. Also, did you go into business on your own so you can spend your leisure time doing business administration? If you did, you need to look at your standard of life my friend.  If we are serious about running a business, we need to understand that our time is the most precious thing we give to our business. We need to understand that where possible, spending money to outsource tasks that we are not qualified for, or spending money to outsource tasks to someone whose time is a lot cheaper than ours, is an efficient use of the resources we have available to us in our business. It is not a waste of money. It actually makes money on the other side.  If you want to understand more about running a small business, your first task is to visit our blog at  http://oceanfeather.com.au/internet-marketing/. Here you’ll find stacks of valuable information about running a small business and ethical internet marketing and how to deal with all types of related issues. If there is anything you don’t understand, just use the form to let us know what you need to know and we will write an article just to answer your questions.  Sure, you need cash flow to pay for this type of thing and often small business owners find it difficult to free up cash to pay for other people to do the tasks that they should not be doing. This raises a different point though, an issue which is part of the same mentality that many small business owners have. If you’re running a business, you need to run it like a business. This means you need to plan your business cash flow separately from yours, you need to plan your time, you need to work out your business priorities and goals and you need to pull it all together in a fashion when you are directing it from above, rather than doing everything from below.  I say this often to my clients. If you are not prepared to plan your business properly and allocate cash flow to outsource tasks in your business, tasks that waste your time because they are outside your expertise or just plain time-consuming, why are you in business? You should just get a job with someone else’s business. The reason you should just get a job is you will still get paid the same amount of money, but your will free up much of the time you are currently wasting doing administration tasks, learning about all the areas of expertise that you try to keep abreast of, and that’s not to mention the heartache and stress you face when sales aren’t necessarily coming through as quickly as you’d like them to.  So starting from today, think about all the parts of your business that you are spending your time on, that really are things that are distracting you from adding value to your business. Write them down. Then work out with each one of them, how you are going to get someone else to do all these tasks. Work out how much it will cost you. From there on work out how much more money you will make in your business with the time you have freed up, given the assumption that you will use that time effectively to make your business a better business, a more profitable business.  Good luck.