As an entrepreneur, it’s incredibly tempting to do it all yourself. After all, it is your company, and who better than you to get it done right? Unfortunately, doing it all yourself isn't the best way to grow a business.
Right from the beginning, you need to think about how to get tasks off your plate so you can free up your time to focus on the top priorities that will help grow your business. And you don’t need to bring someone on full time to get the jobs done: There are plenty of talented freelancers you can hire on a part-time or contract basis. Freelance services, like Hire My Mom, can help you locate the help you need.
So what types of tasks should you hire out?
Unless you're a Web designer by profession, this should be the first thing you hire someone else to handle. There's a lot to learn when designing your own website, and you can easily spend hours/days/weeks/months learning about design, coding and more. It can be fun—and it feels productive—but the truth is, there are better things for you to do than learn how to program (and fix) every bit of code on your site.
Search your network for someone who is great at design and have them build the site. Then make sure you understand the key data on your site, including visitors and conversions. Your Web designer can set up Google Analytics for you, but as the business's owner, it’s your job to learn how to use it and keep track of what's happening on your site.
Graphic Design and Video Design/Editing
Like Web design, graphic design, video design and video editing are also skills that can be self taught. However, you’ll do them much more slowly than a professional would. The good news is, prices in these two areas have gone down significantly in the past few years. Turn again to your network for someone who does these things or can recommend a respectable vendor. You can also search sites like Elance or Odesk for freelancers.
When it comes to your accounting, it’s tempting to think you can “figure this out," but anything you figure out this year can be dramatically different next year as the laws and your business change. Invest the few hundred dollars it will cost you to sit down with an experienced accountant right from the beginning to get your books set up and get everything in order for tax time. Tax problems can really sting and set your business back, especially if you haven’t been paying your required tax liabilities throughout the year.
Shipping and Receiving
If you sell a physical product, shipping can eat up an exorbitant amount of time. When your business sells enough that you're shipping thousands of products a day, you can get a warehouse. In the meantime, hire someone part time to keep your products in their closet or garage and manage your shipping for you.
Customer Support Correspondence
Similar to shipping, customer support is something that typically falls on the founder's shoulders right from the beginning because there isn’t a need for a full-time employee to handle this task. Take time now to put together some customer-support training, and hire someone part time to handle inbound email issues and maybe even take calls.
Make this a rule: If there's a task that takes you more than an hour to do but you could teach someone to do it in 10 minutes, delegate it. There are a ton of tasks—things like transcribing and researching a database of sales leads—that fit into this category. Get them off your plate before your day is gone.
Even if delegating all six of these tasks doesn't work for your business, the list should get you thinking about the activities you do each day that aren’t on your top-three priority list. If you can afford it, find someone else to take these over while you focus on growing your business.
John Rood is founder and president of Next Step Test Preparation, which provides one-on-one tutoring for graduate-level entrance exams nationwide. Rood is also a member of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs.
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