First of all, congratulations! We here at TL;DR are well aware that running a small business can be very challenging, and if your business is growing then it means you’re doing something right. So please, just take a quick moment to give yourself a pat on the back — we’ll wait.
Oftentimes it can feel like it took such a long time to get that boulder-of-a-business moving, and then sometimes it feels like it’s rolling downhill too fast and you wish you could slow it down. However, turning down business can be a very bad thing if it isn’t done carefully. The three safer options for handling a growing business are:
- Automation. Don’t let the word scare you: you’re probably automating quite a few tasks right now and you’re just not aware of it. Do you use autocorrect or QuickBooks? If so, you’re already automating. If you’d like to step up your automation game, let us know and we can help you out. But there’s only so much automation that makes sense at every stage in a business, and chances are it’s not worth getting an expensive piece of automation software for a young business. Some easy wins here include tools like scheduling software, Hootsuite for social management, and bookkeeping software like Quickbooks Online.
- Hiring Employees. Whew, hiring employees is very complicated but is a great way to help scale and grow a business.
- Outsourcing. Outsourcing is a great option to handle extra workload if you’re not sure what to do. It’s less of a commitment than hiring employees while still offering the benefits of having actual humans do the work for you.
Choosing a Company to Outsource Your Work
One of the most important choices you have to make is which company to entrust with your business transactions. Of course, since you’re reading this on the TL;DR blog we’ll freely admit that we’re the interested party here. Rather than giving you specific instructions, we’ll go with general advice:
- Choose a business that has experience working with businesses like yours, or at least background knowledge of the kinds of challenges you face. Even the best logistics outsourcer in the world might not be the right choice for you if you’re (for example) a food service company and the outsourcer only works with electronics distributors.
- What are businesses in your area and industry doing? Perhaps you can meet with heads of other businesses at your local Chamber of Commerce and ask them who their outsourcers are, or read reviews online. Sometimes you may want an outsourcer familiar with local laws, and other times this may not be important. We at TL;DR can assure you that there are many benefits to picking a bookkeeper that is familiar with local laws, so that your B&O taxes and other local tax issues are handled well.
- Remember that you have the power! Remember that the outsourcer is working for you and not vice versa. You are the customer, and if you’re giving your outsourcer everything they need to serve you well and they’re still not doing a good job, you can always select a different outsourcer when the contract is up. Sure, it takes time and money to change to a different outsourcer, but it’s far less time and money than is involved with, say, firing your CFO and hiring a new one.
Keep in Mind What’s Truly Important
Perhaps the best advice we can offer if you’re considering outsourcing is: keep in mind what is truly important for your business. If your outsourcer isn’t quite doing the job you wanted, then it’s important to let them know so that they can better serve you, rather than worrying about offending them. If it still isn’t working, you can always pivot and select a different outsourcer later on. Remember that you’re making business decisions here, and even if it might feel awkward, you as the owner sometimes need to make the tough decisions.
What Can You Outsource?
All sorts of things: bookkeeping, taxes (I couldn’t help but point that out), editing, graphics, social media posting, reading your email, managing your appointments. You should be focusing on what you are doing to earn money. Play to your strengths; your weaknesses are someone else’s strengths.