But You Do Need To Be Smart Enough to Buy It

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booksA lot of small business owners are good at what they do. But, they’ve learned that’s usually not enough to grow the business so they get outside help, quite often in areas related to marketing, so they can “focus on what they do best and let others handle the rest.”

While no one can know how to do every aspect of business, and certainly there is work that makes sense to outsource or delegate, there is nothing in your business that you can abdicate.

What I mean by this, for example, is that even though you may never fancy yourself a pay per click advertising expert, if you plan to hire someone who is, you do need to be smart enough about it to buy it. Same is true for SEO, for web design, for PR advice.

It’s risky business to hand over your marketing on faith that someone is simply going to understand your objectives, your customers, your core message better than you. Even the most experienced marketing coach or graphic designer will struggle if you can’t participate in the results of the project. (It’s also important to know how to spot really bad advice – it’s not hard to call yourself a social media or SEO expert!)

I’m going to repeat this – you don’t have to know how to do everything, you do need to know how to buy it and that means you have to invest in educating yourself.

There is so much incredible free or low cost information online that there’s no excuse to stay in dark about any important element of your business. Books represent the best investment, pound for pound, you can make in yourself and your business. I’ve touched on marketing, but this goes for management, finance, legal, every aspect – learn how to read a balance sheet, understand the laws and requirements in your industry, attend workshops on social media – even if you have a full org chart of people responsible for these areas.

Successful entrepreneurs are today’ polymaths.

Freely outsourcing aspects of your business without taking the time to fully, or at least minimally, understand what you are outsourcing is a recipe for disaster.

Taken a step further, Brian Clark of copyblogger has written what I think is a must read report related to today’s post called – The Outsourcing Conspiracy. Brian’s theory is that most business can’t be run continuously over the long-term with nothing but a single entrepreneur and a host of outsourced relationships.

With regard to your employees, I’ve written a related piece at the AMEX Open Forum titled – Your Staff is the Key to Referral Success

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
1) Outsource vs Staff – certainly pros and cons to each approach
2) How do you delegate without abdicating?
3) What are your best sources for learning?

Image credit: Dawn Endico


AMEX Open Forum, Brian Clark, Copyblogger, People Management

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