Before outsourcing any of your business operations, make sure they're worth the price.
For a small business owner, it is normal to want to handle everything yourself. One of the toughest challenges a small business owner must face is that they cannot possibly do everything on their own, simply because there is not enough time. The more efficient way to run a business is to take the time to understand what your true strengths are. Do you excel in sales and talking to customers about your product to get them excited? Or are you better behind the scenes, coming up with a business plan and design that helps your business stand out? Find your niche and make that your main focus.
So what about the rest of the work that needs to be completed to keep your business running? Outsourcing can be a scary word, but it does not have to be. Finding individuals who are as passionate about your business as you can be easy if you know what to look for and what questions to ask.
At Business.com, it is our job to talk to and hire experts for small businesses. To make you more confident in your hiring decisions, below are the top considerations for hiring in each area of expertise.
Determining when to hire an accountant can be as difficult as determining which accountant to hire. Most small businesses will not require a full-time accountant. Events where an accountant may be necessary are when you submit your taxes, apply for a business loan or first form your business. Accountants can save you time, as well as offer you advice about your business's legal structure or financial projections for your business plan. Before choosing an accountant, consider their experience with other small businesses, the compatibility of your existing bookkeeping methods with their methods, certifications and legal limitations, and their price.
If the responses to your brand are not what you hope to portray to your audience, hiring a brand management expert may resolve this problem. A brand manager will evaluate your personal and company core values, gather validation of your brand from clients and competitors, and develop a rebranding strategy if necessary. Rebranding can be a long process that lasts six months to a year. Therefore, it is vital to hire a brand manager who can envision similar goals and objectives to what you have in mind. What will you pay? Depending on the level of involvement, a new brand strategy can cost thousands of dollars. Typically, branding agencies are more expensive than hiring an independent branding expert.
Business coaching and consulting
Business consultants and coaches can provide the expertise to refine an existing business model and send a small business over the top. Whether you are a first-time small business owner or a seasoned small business expert, you can find value in hiring a business coach. A business coach can be a second eye to validate your idea, provide constructive criticism and be the gateway to a network of business professionals. If you lack a particular skill set, it is common to hire a business coach with specialized skills to fill this space. Like with branding, it is important to ensure a shared passion for your vision when choosing a business coach.
Graphic design is an artistic aspect of marketing. When you interview graphic designers, apart from reviewing their portfolios, there are several logistical questions you need to ask. You will want to know the turnaround time and what you need to provide to the designer for them to be able to complete the design. Also, discuss the terms of payment and find out who owns the design once it is finished. Your designer will probably want a small retainer and expect the full amount of payment upon completion of the design. You should always ask for references to evaluate how their past designs have converted customers and whether their price is worth it.
Hiring an HR consultant is not just about paying for convenience and efficiency. Although an experienced HR consultant does make employee onboarding much easier (filling out benefit and tax forms is time-consuming), they can also offer you the valuable expertise they've gained from working with other small businesses. HR consultants are hired to improve your business's talent acquisition, build up your culture and set a standard for your employees.
Lawyers can be crucial for small businesses. When you're faced with a legal problem of any sort, hiring a lawyer is the safest bet for long-term business success. Make sure to arrange a consultation to verify expected price range, chemistry with the lawyer and area-specific expertise. Most attorneys will offer a free initial consultation so they can share with you how they plan to alleviate problems in your business.
It is time to hire a marketing expert when you know there is a market for your product or service, but thus far your marketing results have been hit or miss. If your business is generating new leads and traffic but you are uncertain what is responsible for the recent traction, a marketing expert can help determine what is and where to focus your resources. During an interview, ask what the expert thinks of your current marketing efforts. This is a great way to gauge their understanding of your current industry.
There is a surplus of SEO scam artists, but there are also plenty of brilliant SEO experts who can increase your page rankings. It is important to know beforehand what you are willing to let an SEO expert alter when looking to boost your ranking in search results. Will major changes to your website, content and overall communication be necessary? Be wary of SEO experts guaranteeing first-page ranking on Google. Instead, ask for referrals to other sites they have improved rankings for before making the final hire decision.
Your business is ready to hire a social media manager when you have a foundation for a strong brand and need to increase your communication channels. A social media manager does not have to be a marketing major. In fact, it is more beneficial if the candidate possesses multiple skills for the job, like business fundamentals, graphics, web design and writing their own content. Take your time and choose wisely. If you hire an inexperienced social media manager, it can end up being more challenging and time-consuming to generate meaningful traffic through social media outreach.
It is easy to be skeptical of hiring a video production expert, but a professionally produced video can enhance a website's credibility and effectiveness. When hiring a video producer, investigate their experience with comparable companies, the quality of their sample work and equipment, and your individual connection with the producer.
When you are ready to build a website for your business or have total website maintenance, you should know exactly what you want before hiring a web developer for the job. It is helpful to have a basic understanding of the different areas of expertise in web, like front end, back end and user experience. Each area of expertise is very different from the others, so it is possible for a web developer to be an expert in one but not the rest. Before interviewing a web developer, browse the web to get ideas on layouts. This will help you envision how you would like your own website set up, and it provides the web developer with visual references.