It’s nearly time to look ahead to the coming year and decide what you hope to accomplish by its end.
Whether you call them resolutions, or goals, or aspirations, reaffirming your ambitions is a healthy exercise in improving your quality of life.
Alongside personal resolutions, small business owners should do some goal-setting in their professional lives. Growing customer bases, staying organized, and ultimately raising revenue should all be items on that list of things to accomplish for small business owners. Finding more time to focus on taking your small business to the next level should also be a goal – and that takes some creativity since most business owners are already majorly strapped for time.
One way to free up your schedule for more of the projects you love is through hiring contract help for specific tasks. By outsourcing some of your small business to-do list to other professionals, you can focus on innovation and growth instead. Hiring an outsourced professional in a particular area also ensures that you will have high-quality outcomes since the people you bring on do those things are doing them for a living. Think of it this way: Small business owners can move mountains, but sometimes they need an outside strategist to scale them.
If “more time” is one of your small business goals for 2016, here are a few smart areas to hire contractors or outsourced help:
Social Media Management
Fifty-six percent of Americans have at least one social media account and they use it for everything from sharing vacation photos to making purchasing decisions. The influence of social media isn’t slowing down in 2016 and it’s important that businesses tap its full potential.
Do you have social media accounts where you never post? Are you unsure how to sign up for them, or how often to update them? Bring on a freelance social media guru, or hire a firm to handle it for you. You can generally pay for the level of involvement you want, making it more affordable than hiring someone as a full-time staffer to do it.
Small business owners can’t be in two, or three, places at once but often feel pulled in several directions simultaneously. When you are trying to run a small business, phone calls and emails can really eat up a lot of your precious time. It’s really important to stay highly organized so that you are the most productive (and your clients stay happy).
A great way to free up some time and stay on top of your packed schedule is to outsource your administrative tasks. This includes answering and returning phone calls, monitoring social media accounts and responding, handling email duties, and even scheduling tasks. You can either bring in some in-office help for a few hours per week or hire a virtual assistant on a site like Upwork.
By giving those tasks to someone else, you free up your own time for some of the “bigger picture” items of your small business and leave the day-to-day necessities to a well-trained professional.
Writers and graphic designers aren’t the only professionals who freelance. You can find legal help on-demand through sites like AttorneyASAP. This service matches up attorneys looking for some additional work with clients in need of that help. This is a great way for your business to tap legal expertise without having to pay the fee for retaining a lawyer year-round.
Since the attorneys are vetted in advance (and reviewed by other clients), it helps you know who to hire and for what area of expertise. Think of it like Uber for legal help – you can contact the service for what you need exactly when you need it. You can also ask any attorneys you know personally or professionally if they are looking for any extra work outside normal office hours.
By hiring a professional who knows contract and business law, you can protect your assets and give yourself more time in the process.
Whether internal or external, the way you communicate as a small business owner is really important to your credibility. Don’t lose a potential client because of a misspelling or ineffective document. Hire the help of a writing or public relations specialist when it comes to the advertisements you mail, the emails you send, the content on your website, and even your official communications with employees.
By having a discussion about your branding and ideal messaging, you can give the outsourced writer or PR professional the right direction on how you want to be portrayed. Effective written communication is an asset to your small business – make sure you trust it to the right professional.
Building a website is a must, but it’s just the first step in a strong online presence. It’s important to add fresh content to your site to improve its search engine optimization and you must also keep it updated with the latest security and browser tweaks. A website that is neglected will soon look that way, and could be at risk for being hacked.
Bringing on a website developer for a few hours each month is a smart way to protect the investment you made in your site and keep it looking professional. It also means that you are likely getting the help of someone well-versed in the online industry who can make suggestions and improvements regarding your online branding.
A small business owner takes on a lot of roles in order to keep the company afloat, but there are cases where outsourcing is easy and inexpensive. As you look ahead to your goals for 2016 and beyond, consider delegating some of these tasks to other professionals. It will give you the freedom and flexibility to commit to other aspects of your business and will streamline your small business operations. By expanding the network of professionals associated with your small business, your overall influence and reach will grow.
Have you outsourced any of your small business tasks? Which ones, and where did you find the help?