Work-Life Balance

Question: I cannot do everything in managing my business. What can I safely outsource so I can have some balance in my life between my small business and my family and time for myself?

Answer: One of the big misconceptions that are told to all small business owners is that they have to do it all. You cannot do it all. The two most important tasks of any entrepreneur in launching and managing an on-going small business are (1) managing the business’s cash flow and (2) being the face of the business by generating sales (revenues).

One of the rules of thumb is: whatever you do best, keep it in the house. Whatever you don’t do well, outsource it.

As you plan the ongoing operation of your business whether you are a startup or an ongoing enterprise, consider the following for outsourcing:

Payroll – outsource your payroll services to a company like Paychex or anyone of 21 local payroll services on Cape Cod. Not only do they execute the weekly, bi-weekly or monthly payroll, but they submit your tax forms and facilitate payment for state and federal taxes. When selecting a company to provide this service for you, consider the following: Security and Reliability, other services offered (HR, 401K), regulatory compliance capability, technology and accounting interfaces. This service might seem costly, but they keep you out of trouble by avoiding costly mistakes and late submittals. Too many small businesses get into payroll disasters by not paying attention to the details that payroll professionals do on a daily basis.

Bookkeeping – Most small businesses use Quickbooks or a similar accounting software system to keep track of transactions, but when it comes to assuring that your records are “tax ready” having a bookkeeper reconcile your entries monthly and then have a CPA prepare your year end records and taxes are expenses worth having. You can do all the entries and have a bookkeeping professional assure that you are coding them properly and training you how to do the entries correctly. Over time you will find that you will need this service less and less for entry help and use your bookkeeper to reconcile your books. Again, these two professionals keep you out of trouble.

IT (information technology) – having an information technology professional on your staff may be beyond your bandwidth during start-up. But, if you don’t know intimately how to generate a website, create content for your blog or newsletter you might consider looking for an IT professional. If you are not a computer “jock,” then an outsourced IT professional is in your future to keep your computers running and up-to-date. This activity is easily outsourced to any one of a number of independent IT professionals on the Cape. When you have reached critical mass, you will want to have your own IT staffer, but until then outsourcing makes economic sense.

Marketing – if you are a marketing guru, you might not need either someone on your staff or an outsourced pro. But, if you are not a marketing specialist, then this is a must since you need to raise awareness of your organization’s brand and availability to generate sales. You might need someone just to work on building a brand. Having someone who can be your social media content provider (web blogs, Tweets, Pinterest, Linked-in) might be another outsource possibility even if you are a marketing pro. Don’t skimp on marketing during startup. Include it in your startup expenses. You might have the best product or service, but if no one knows about it, you cannot generate revenue.

You cannot do it all! Face that fact early and get help so you can concentrate on growing your business and sustaining it through the rough first five years of existence.

Back to list of topics