The Entrepreneur’s Address Book: Tips On Finding The Right Outsourced Help

In the world of business, as the Beatles once said, you get by with a little help from your friends. When you make the decision to give up your day job and dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to creating your very own business from the ground up, you incur enormous personal risk and endure great personal sacrifice. But you endure because one you’ve tasted the empowerment of entrepreneurship, you never want to go back. No longer must you labor away in a job in which you’re overqualified and understimulated. No more will you allow your skills to atrophy for the betterment of the profit margins of big corporations who deliberately repress your salary to keep their numbers in the black. You’re determined to create your own future for yourself on your own terms. And if personal risk, long hours, financial struggles and the nagging feeling of impostor syndrome that often plagues entrepreneurs are part of the package then it’s a price you gladly pay.

Running your own business allows you to do things your way and affords you that wonderful feeling of self affirmation that comes when the ideas that you scrawled down on a notebook are writ large on your website or in your business’ physical presence. Your grit, single mindedness, determination and self belief are what makes you a great entrepreneur… But even you need help. As capable, knowledgeable and astute as you are, there are some areas of your business which may be best left outsourced to a specialist. Here we’ll look at some of the reasons why even the savviest of entrepreneurs benefit from outsourcing as well as going over a checklist of qualities that you need to look for in your outsourced help…

 

Why outsource?

You likely have a very specific vision for your business, a very strong idea of your brand and a clear notion of what you want your business to be. You have a strong mission statement and have built your business around a set of ideals. You recruit and train your employees in line with these ideals and have developed a very specific ethos and way of doing things. In this light you may not see the benefit of outsourcing business functions that can be done in house.

But just because you can do something in house doesn’t mean that you should. Your business skills may be formidable, but you need to be judicious about where and how you apply them for the benefit of your business. Sometimes, there’s nothing more valuable than an outside perspective on your business. Moreover, unless you have the capital and resources to recruit specialists to fulfill these functions, you’ll likely be spreading your workforce (and yourself) a little too thin. You may be a dab hand at social media, for example, but that doesn’t mean that doing your own digital marketing is necessarily the best use of your time. Usually a digital marketing agency will generate a much healthier return on your investment than sinking your own capital, resources, time and effort into marketing operations.

Likewise, if you setup your own HR department instead of using an outsourced HR service provider, you could potentially open up your business to litigation if a mistake is made. HR is an ever changing landscape and your business could fall afoul in a very damaging way if your department isn’t bang up to date.

Understandably you may be skittish about the prospect of entrusting vital aspects of your operation to an outside service provider, but when you know what to look for you can lay the foundations for a happy and profitable working relationship.

 

Do they cater to the specific needs of your business?

Every business is different and while businesses may require the same function, they may have subtly different and specific needs. Specificity counts for a whole lot when it comes to outsourcing essential functions. Dispensaries, for example need dispensaries credit card processing. Does the outsourced company you’re courting have bespoke solutions that are designed to fit your business or do they try to thrust a “one size fits all” package upon you? Do they have the ability to scale their provision up or down on a sliding scale depending on the changing needs of your business or will they force you to keep on paying for redundant solutions that you won’t use?

 

Do they have other clients like you?

All outsourced service providers say that they understand the needs of your business and your industry, but the proof is in the pudding. Take a look at some of their prior success stories. Are they businesses like yours? How have they helped them? Have they provided a similar service to what you’re looking for or are your needs different? It’s always worth reaching out to other businesses who have used the company you’re courting to ensure that their ongoing experience matches the glowing testimonial on their website.

 

How open are your lines of communication?

You never know when you might be struck by a flash of inspiration. Does your service provider offer an open line of communication with you or will you have to jot your ideas down and pray that you remember them the next time you meet. You don’t expect your service provider to be able to pick up the phone at 2 in the morning but at the same time you should have a clear and direct line of communication with them.

 

 

Are their brand ideals aligned with yours?

The ideals upon which you built your brand matter a lot to you, and if you use a service provider that doesn’t match those ideals it’s likely that you’ll butt heads. Are they passionate about the same things as you? This will go a long way to determining…
Do you get along with them?

Wherever possible you should work with people you like. It’s far more conducive to the kind of creative and collaborative atmosphere that you need to create. But more practically it makes dealing with them much more pleasant.

When you’ve found the right service providers, not only will your business benefit in tangible ways, you’ll also save money in the long term.

 

7 Business Skills That Every Entrepreneur Should Embrace

 

When it comes to being in business for yourself and being an entrepreneur, you’re definitely free to do things your way. Whether you’re freelancing or building a business, it’s often going to be your personal touch that sets you apart from the rest. Essentially, you’re the essence of your business – and that’s pretty cool. But at the same time, it’s also valuable for you to know a little bit about the world of business itself. While by no means at all do you have to have business experience to launch something on your own, it may be beneficial to pick up some skills. Maybe you want to be able to take your operations to the next level? Or you just want to be able to keep on growing? When this is the case, you have to make sure that you’re working on your skill set.

However, when you’re used to doing your own thing, you may not even know what those skills should be. If that sounds like you, then don’t worry. Because you can learn them – as they’re what this post is all about. There are some key skills that can help you in any line of business. And as long as you’re willing to learn, you’ll find that they do actually benefit you. If you’re ready to grow as an entrepreneur and take your business to the next level, then here are seven different skills that you should find help you.

  1. Basic Business Sense

First of all, it’s always going to be handy to grasp some of the business basics. From registering your business with or without a formations company to how taxation works, you need to understand what each process involves. While you don’t need experience in either, if you can know a little bit about the basics of setting up and operating a company, then you’re going to be just fine. Everything else can be learnt along the way.

  1. Coding

It can also be handy to try and pick up a little bit of coding. While you don’t need to be a developer by any stretch of the imagination, you will be spending a bit of time online. And knowing how to code to make small tweaks to your website or blog will be helpful (and cost-effective).

 

 

  1. Writing Skills

Being an A* English student isn’t a prerequisite for running a successful company, but it’s in your interest to develop your writing. If you’re able to improve your writing skills, you’ll not only feel more confident when you communicate with others, but it can help your marketing too. The better you are with copy, the better your journey will be.

  1. Communications Skills

Next up, you’re also going to want to master your communications skills. Being able to communicate with clients, customers, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders is important. We all know that relationship building is a huge part of business, and you need to be able to be a good communicator to do that. So make sure that you’re working on your interpersonal skills as much as you can.

  1. Marketing Knowledge

From here, you may also find it beneficial to learn a bit about marketing too. This is going to be especially important if you’re running the ship solo from the beginning. Because you are essentially the marketing department. But thankfully for us all, there’s so much information online that can help you. Just Google anything you want, about any area of marketing, and there will be a range of reputable blogs with great insight for you to read.

  1. Organizational Skills

Then, you may also want to make sure that you’re just being organized. There’s a lot to be said for being organized in life – and the skill can really transform your business. Implement systems that make your workflow easier, purchase software plans to help you streamline what you’re doing, and just nail your diary management. It will make things easier as you start to get busier too.

  1. Management

And finally, if you want to be a good entrepreneur, then it’s essential that you can learn to become a good manager too. The chances are that, you’re going to be a boss at some point during your journey. And if you want your business to be run well, you have to make sure that you have a killer management style. Here, skills like empathy, good people skills, understanding, objectiveness, and being able to handle criticism all come in handy. So start working on each of these now.

 

4 Steps That Will Take Your Freelancing Business To The Next Level

Freelancing is an excellent career in 2018. It’s lucrative, accessible, and you get to be the boss. There is no feeling like making the decisions after years of being on the receiving end. Starting up a business is only the initial step. After the inevitable bump at the beginning, there is usually a plateau. Things get stale and it’s how you react that counts the most. Taking a company to a new level is by no means straightforward and there will be errors along the way. However, if you keep the following in mind, you’ll have every chance.

Here are the next steps to take for freelancers.

Back To School

There is no doubt that you are a professional with experience and a solid skill set. But, that doesn’t mean that you understand everything about the industry. In fact, there will be some glaring holes which need covering up should the business go from strength to strength. Regardless of what they are, going back to school always helps because knowledge is power. Plenty of schools have online courses, so view their degree options and choose the one which is the most applicable. A business program tends to be a hit, but don’t forget about leadership lessons either. Perception is the reality to a lot of clients.

Negotiating The Drop

Think about a salaried position at any company in the world. After a couple of years, there will be a rise to cover the cost of living. Inflation increases and your real-term wage takes a hit, so the business (begrudgingly) does the right thing. Freelancing is no different regarding current contracts. They were fine in the beginning, but now they need renegotiating to cover new expenses. Never be afraid to enter into contract talks. Be cool, calm, polite yet decisive, and keep your cards close to your chest.

Recruiting Fresh Meat

Should a client say they are unhappy with paying more, you must be the first to say that’s fine. Then, start looking for new deals with partners who are willing to pay extra. It’s easy to think they are in control because you need their money to survive and grow. In reality, there is plenty more fish in the sea as long as you chum the waters early. Also, target the big game and the companies who ask you the rate. You can do the same amount of work yet get paid more by striking a deal with a large corporation.

The Help

Working alone is perfect in the beginning. After a while, it becomes too much hassle. Hiring employees, even if it’s only one, is essential to ensure time isn’t wasted. The key is to work long hours yet to be efficient at the same time. It’s nearly impossible to work effectively when you’re tired and on your own. A worker doesn’t need to be in-house either. Indeed, outsourcing to a third party normally has an enormous impact on the firm.

 

Are you ready to strive for greatness?