You run a business. You’re good at what you do. As a matter of fact, you’re so good at what you do that you started (or manage) a business to sell what you do.
A business, however, always requires more than your core competencies to exist, let alone succeed. Whether it’s back office functions like order fulfillment, accounting, inventory management, and the like or more public-facing responsibilities, like sales, PR, and marketing, there are roles your business demands that your internal human resources can’t support.
As the person responsible for the business, especially when starting out, you may feel inclined—or financially obligated—to perform these tasks yourself.
While the idea that you can save money if you handle these efforts yourself seems logical, I would like to challenge your way of thinking.
Time Is Money
The notion that time is money applies to most areas of life. Within the context of business, I believe the significance of that statement is even more powerful as it has a more literal correlation with dollars and cents.
As mentioned earlier, you’re good at what you do. Chances are, if you decided to make a business out of your talents, you’re likely quite efficient doing what you do as well. That itself is a key difference between professionals and hobbyists.
With that said, you can easily draw a line between the time you spend throughout your workday and a revenue return.
Time spent doing what you’re not a pro at is time taken away from what you do best—what brings in the money—and a perceived cost savings from DIY can quickly flip upside down into a greater loss in revenue.
Let’s assume you’re an above average DIY’er. You’re handy and feel this project is no different than the last. As such, you can handle the task that’s outside your comfort zone and don’t feel the time spent has a material effect on your bottom line.
You move forward, tackling this project in a timely manner.
But, how’s the quality of you put together?
What we’re talking about is DIY versus outsourcing a necessity for your business. Is what you’ve accomplished appropriately representing your brand? Is the quality of your, say, website or social media strategy or brochure that you’ve built yourself commensurate with the products or services your business is known for?
If it’s not, you’ll need to take a comprehensive and honest look at whether this DIY effort is helping or hurting your business. If you’ve saved money doing it yourself but the quality of the end result winds up tarnishing your brand; was the cost savings really worth it?
Expertise Takes Time
You may have read, it’s broadly understood that it takes 10,000 hours practicing or performing a function before you can truly become an expert at something. Assuming a 40-hour work week, when ALL you do is spend time developing a particular skill, it would take 250 weeks or nearly 5 years to become an expert.
While there are a lot of accessible resources available to help you learn what you’re not already skilled at, such as websites, services like YouTube, blogs, videos and articles like this one, and more; do you truly have the time to develop this expertise?
While these resources are ideal for developing a cursory understanding, clearly a lot more time and effort is required to gain expertise.
There’s a television commercial for Quickbooks featuring Danny DeVito and, in this sketch, he says, “remember that degree you got in taxation? Of you course you don’t…because you didn’t!” He then explains that your job isn’t to know tax code, it’s to know what you’re in business for. Of course, I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.
Between the considerations of lost time, less-than-professional quality, and lacking expertise, Danny DeVito’s line in that commercial does an excellent job summing up what we have discussed here today.
There is a cost associated with everything we do in our small business and some costs are harder to identify than others. When you’re looking at your next business need, and you’re weighing the pros and cons of outsourcing to a pro, please remember these considerations when making your decision.
To learn more about marketing your small business, check out our What you need to know to market your small business article.