Rather than wear every hat -- every single day -- small business owners need to think about regular activities that can be outsourced or subcontracted out. When you can get assistance with tasks you are probably not skilled at anyway, you will have more time for higher level activities like business development and project management. Great leaders know it is more productive to outsource work that is not revenue generating, but essential to business operations. Since time is such a prized commodity when running a small business, it is smart to leverage the talents of others rather than trying to do it all by yourself. Here are some of the best activities to outsource in your small business.
Subcontract Your Marketing Efforts: Marketing is the fuel of a small business. Your marketing efforts tie directly to your sales results. So if you are too busy working the business you already have to focus on closing the next sale, you need some help. Outsource your marketing efforts to a consultant or public relations specialist for your small business. Some marketing people will help you develop downloadable content for your website, conduct email marketing campaigns. Some will focus on reaching out to LinkedIn contacts; they can handle direct inquiries or pitch you for speaking opportunities. They can also develop media pitches and monitor HARO for media opportunities.
Subcontract Your Payroll: Unless you run an accounting firm, you should not be doing your own payroll. Listen, you can get in trouble faster with the IRS for not paying your payroll taxes properly than not paying personal income taxes. If you hire an outsourcing company to do your payroll, then you can rest assured that you and your staff will have no issue when income tax season rolls around at the beginning of each year. If you do the payroll in-house, then you need to stay on the top of rules for federal, state and local tax laws that often change. The fees to outsource payroll are not very expensive, so do yourself a favor, let a payroll service handle the deductions for withholding, social security, unemployment and worker's compensation. You can't afford to make a mistake.
Subcontract Your Social Media Marketing: There are plenty of solopreneur marketing consultants and social media marketing agencies that can handle developing your social media strategy, content development and social promotion for your company. When you perform these tasks in-house, you often fail to retain the consistency of doing them. Leverage the services of a 1099 consultant to handle this for you. I am pretty sure, if you hire the right person or firm, and give them a specific niche focus and strong message about your product or service, your marketing efforts will flourish over time. Just remember that social media is a long-term strategy, so be prepared to invest 12-24 months to achieve your goals.
Subcontract Your Bookkeeping: Bookkeeping is the number one task in small business that owners routinely neglect and struggle with managing in their operations. Do not let this happen to your small business. By the 15th of the month, you need to know how well your business did last month so you can make any adjustments. By outsourcing your basic accounting services to a seasoned bookkeeper, you will have the ability to use updated financial information to run your small business. A bookkeeper can do your accounting work a lot faster and more accurately than you can, and it is affordable. Ask your tax preparer or another entrepreneur for a referral to the right provider. Stop getting your accounting done for the year at tax time; outsource your bookkeeping services today.
Subcontract Your Administrative Support: Do you often feel like you wish you had another pair of hands to help you in your small business? Utilizing virtual assistants is a cost-effective way to get routine tasks handled in a business. You can use a virtual assistant for maintaining your personal schedule, database, preparing mailings, email newsletters, copy editing, blog maintenance, booking travel arrangements, invoicing, collections and voicemail and email management. You can even leverage a niche-focused virtual assistant to do bookkeeping and receipt management. I have used Twitter and LinkedIn to search for qualified virtual assistants to support my small business.
No need to waste so much effort on being all things and more in your small business. Even if you only subcontract one or two of these tasks, the results will be tangible in short order. Be smart and choose reputable and recommended contractors. Do not sign any long-term contracts right away. Start with a one-to-three-month project. By outsourcing some non-core activities, you will have greater peace of mind as you help your small business grow!
What activities do you outsource in your small business?
This article was originally published here, under the title, "Top 5 Tasks to Outsource in Your Small Business."
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady, is America's #1 small business expert. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business startup, business development and social media marketing to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. She writes a weekly column on social media for The New York Times. Forbes Magazine named her #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9 p.m. ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog Melinda is also the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works and the ebook: How To Become A Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.