Remember the days of being employed in company when it used to be so simple? Whenever we had a problem we’d just simply pick up the phone and ask someone. If something needed to be produced we’d have someone from the design team magically create it. Things like formatting and style were supernaturally decided (just fyi there is no button that you can press to turn a bad looking word document into a beautiful looking PDF brochure!) If there was a computer problem we’d have some poor I.T. person trying to explain it to us for the millionth time, whilst we swore they were just making up the language they were using!
There is no one at the end of the phone anymore
As more and more of us start our own businesses we don’t have the luxury of that back up anymore. We have no one at the end of the phone to call for a friendly answer. Now we don’t have the resource, yet that friendly voice at the end of the line is asking for more details than we knew existed or providing us with more and more solutions that require agonising over for hours. So what do you do?
Well you could outsource some of the work or you can pay for training to show you how to do it, or you can spend a lot of time finding and learning how to do everything yourself. However the harsh reality is that we may not have the time and money when we’re trying to start and grow a business, nor may we have the years’ worth of experience to know which is the best decision to move forwards with. We have enough trouble with just the normal day job, let alone suddenly becoming branding, sales, printing, design, marketing and social media experts and so on!
The important thing to remember is that we can’t possibly be superb at everything *breaths sigh of relief* …. it’s OK to know and embrace our own strengths and weaknesses and when we need to, call in the cavalry to help.
When the electrics are blown do we call an electrician or do we attempt to re-wire the house ourselves? When the car packs up, do we start pulling apart the engine or call in the mechanic?
While you are doing things you don’t like or are good at, you are not growing your business
While you are doing things you don’t like or may not be your area of expertise, this could be costing you money and causing you stress, because you are not spending time on the things you do like and are good at and growing your business. So even if time and money are an issue, you need to call in experts – it’s important to remember that their fee is an investment into the company to ensure that you’re getting the activity right first time. That one time training/project/experience will help you save wasted time and learn more about how to develop and grow your business.
If they’re good at what they do, they’ll work collaboratively with you to ensure you’ve provided them with a strong enough brief to ensure you’re getting the results you want. The reason why they’re experts is because they have the stats to help guide the direction of your campaign against your objectives – to know what works and what doesn’t. They have the background and the experience to know how much effort, resource, budget is really involved.
Pick my brain for free
I have been involved in many discussions on LinkedIn groups where people didn’t see the need to pay for training or consulting or to outsource certain work – not so much that they couldn’t afford it, but they couldn’t see the value. They no longer work in a large company with a phone line direct to the person that needs to help them “free” or do it for them “free”. Now as a business owner, they see the cost of every penny spent.
Many experts are happy to share this information and do free webinars and talks and produce plenty of free blog or video content to provide a good understanding of what’s required. It often saves them being asked for ‘a quick chat and a coffee whilst having their brains picked’. By producing content on their areas of expertise, they’re happily providing you with an understanding of what to expect……plus it actually allows them time to stay in the office and get work done and pay the bills!
Don’t forget there are also plenty of public forums, social media channels and comments sections on blogs where you can ask questions or get free advice. The great thing about doing this in public (rather than phoning or emailing the person in private) is that:
- you can get input from a number of people
- those given the answers or advice can show their expertise to others and raise their public profile (little further promotion to the kind soul who’s spent time answering your questions!)
- other people with the same problem can also get access to this knowledge
Do take advantage of this information and don’t be afraid to ask in public – there are plenty of people out there who are asking for advice and feedback even in their own fields of expertise!
Should you then need to hire an expert to take things to the next level, remember that it’s better to invest in doing something right than waste money correcting it later. And no, your branding can not be magically created over a coffee……!