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As an entrepreneur with fire in your belly, you have no problem starting and running the core of your business yourself. However, as time goes on, you begin to wonder if you could benefit from hiring a helping hand. You may need start to seek outside advice, skills or strategies that currently don’t exist within your organization. Or, your company may simply need a fresh perspective. Even the healthiest of growing businesses benefit from new ideas and innovation.
An outside expert can walk through the door with skills that would otherwise take you years to develop, and to the detriment of your business. Finding the right expertise can resolve your issue faster and cheaper than if you did so yourself, helping your business build a foundation for success without wasting time and money.
If you’re not sure whether you should bring in help or take a do-it-yourself approach, consider these five areas in which most startup businesses can benefit.
Sign #1: Your financials are a mess
Accounting and bookkeeping are tedious chore for most entrepreneurs, which is why a financial expert is a great solution. As your business grows, you may have quickly realized that finances can turn into a full-time role. By outsourcing a CPA or bookkeeper—or in many cases, both—you not only have one less thing on your plate, but the knowledge that everything’s being done correctly and efficiently.
Outside of the efficiency factor, Micah Fraim, CPA, makes another important point: When it comes to taxes, non-financial professionals often look at taxes and find ways to “save on taxes.” But that mindset isn’t exactly right.
“Making decisions with tax ramifications as the primary driver is somewhat missing the point, isn’t it? We aren’t in business to save on taxes, we’re in business to make more money,” Fraim said.
While planning can decrease the effective cost of many expenditures and help free up cash, it shouldn’t be the main driver when making business decisions. In this way, having a CPA or financial advisor onboard allows you to see the full picture and make better decisions for your business all year long.
Sign #2: You need someone to help with the actual hiring process
When you have more work coming in than you can handle, consider bringing on an operations consultant. This person works like any other consultant or contractor, and can help you tackle a wide range of tasks, including:
- The recruitment and hiring of new employees through advertising, interviewing, reference checks, etc.
- Lead employee orientation and training upon hiring
- Inform and enforce compliance regulations such as wage laws and workers’ compensation
- Arrange employee benefits (health, dental, vision) for employees and their families
From recruiting top talent to determining compensation, an HR expert may be just what you need to stay focused on growing your business.
Sign #3: You can’t figure out your marketing
A successful marketing strategy is a requirement if you want to grow and attract new clients and customers. Yet marketing can be one of the most challenging areas to figure out if you’re not a marketing expert.
Not only is there strategy and proper execution involved, but you likely need to plan for email, social media, print, content and much more—and then track the results. This is a full-time job in most companies for a reason, and if you do it yourself, you’re likely making a lot of marketing mistakes without even knowing it.
The good news is, you don’t need to hire a full-time marketing employee to get started. Instead, bring on a marketing consultant to pick up some of the work for you. This person can help with strategy, planning, scheduling, and more within the following areas:
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Blog content creation
- Newspaper or radio ads
- Print marketing
Sign #4: Your tech hasn’t been updated in years
It is hard to imagine a business that doesn’t use some sort of digital system in its everyday operations, from computers to phones. Unless your business is in the IT field, you will likely need some form of tech guidance to ensure the security of your website, updates to your communication systems and more. An IT expert will be able to make repairs to hardware and operating systems, but more importantly, he or she can help you get ahead of any IT issues you may face.
For example, an IT consultant can ensure all business data is backed up, provide training on devices and software systems, implement or help with technology upgrades and secure your systems to protect you from cybercrime.
The key is getting these systems in place before you’re in the midst of an IT emergency, like a hard drive crash or security breach. Instead, be proactive in seeking IT solutions.
Sign #5: You’re being sued and have no idea what to do next
While the need for legal advice may be sporadic, it’s critical that you have a lawyer available, whether on retainer or for appointments as needed. According to business experts at QuickBooks, here are six reasons why you’d need to work with an attorney:
- Deciding how to structure your business
- Dealing with employee issues
- Drafting or negotiating a contract
- A complaint is filed against you
- Environmental issues impact your business
- Negotiating the sale of your business or buying one
At the very list, the times above are when you need to bring in a law expert. This will be critical to your success as your business grows, as a legal situation could end up costing a significant amount of money.
Recognize when to bring in outside expertise
As your business grows, it’s not feasible to try handling all of its operations yourself. Do not be blinded by the signs that outside expertise is needed. Instead, be aware of when you need to bring in outside help to free up time, deliver better results and ultimately continue to grow your business you worked so hard to create.