As a virtual assistant and business advisor, I generally work with small to mid-sized companies and organizations who have a limited budget when it comes to outsourcing and professional services. Often times the owners or managers will wear multiple hats, trying to fulfill all of the roles within the company and handling all of the daily business tasks. But soon they find themselves overwhelmed, frustrated, and burnt out. Customers are complaining, calls are not getting returned, orders are falling through the cracks, they run out of printer ink and paper, invoicing is delayed, licensing requirements are put off, tax payments are delayed and fines accrue, and papers are piled sky high.
It’s at this very point where bringing in a professional can be a real solution to their problems, yet they don’t do it. Why? Because they look at the cost and think that it’s way too expensive to pay someone $35-65 an hour to provide them with the much-needed help. Honestly speaking, this is a largely misunderstood concept. The cost of not hiring a true professional is actually higher.
Professionals such as accountants, lawyers, business advisors, and virtual assistants, know the ins and outs of their professions and are able to handle tasks quickly and efficiently, especially the tasks that might be daunting for you. As a business owner, if you’re spending eight hours trying to set-up Quickbooks on your own, that’s revenue lost for you. Your time is much more valuable and would be better spent with you working in your business rather than on your business. You could have hired a virtual assistant or bookkeeper for $40/hour to set-up Quickbooks for you, and it probably would have taken them two hours. You have to understand that spending money for professional help really isn’t always a bad thing and you have to determine how your business can truly benefit from the help.
It doesn’t make any sense for a business owner or manager to try and file papers, send out marketing newsletters, reply to emails, purchase materials, set appointments, manage a website or social media campaigns, if it means lost revenue for your company. Here’s a good example: If you can be out working and generating $85/ hour in your business, and you spend ten hours a week doing these odds and ends in your business, that equals $850 of lost revenue a week or $44,304 of lost revenue annually. If you hired a virtual assistant at $35/ hour to handle those same tasks on your behalf, you would not have lost revenue at all, you would have generated $500 of increased revenue or $26,000 annually.
The proof is in the pudding they say, and here is the proof that the cost associated with hiring a professional, isn’t always as bad as you might think.
Miss Executive ~ Tina Holtz
Tina Holtz is a serial entrepreneur who owns and operates a boutique virtual assisting and business advisory firm, Executive Business Services, LLC. She has more than 20 years experience in business development, business management, operations, sales, marketing, and procurement. Tina values building relationships and is passionate about helping business owners reach new heights. She provides a vast array of support services to business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals, and executives.
970-989-8047 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Running a small business can be a daunting task. It might seem like you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off most of the time. Paying bills, running errands, meeting with clients, making 30 phone calls a day, writing proposals, cleaning the toilet! It may seem like you’re doing everything and yet it can still feel like you’ve accomplished nothing.
In this blog article we’re going to review the top challenges that small businesses find themselves facing everyday. In my reaserch what I’ve found is that even though small business owners are stressed about everything that they need to do and the struggles in owning and operating their small businesses, they would do it all over again if given the chance. The freedom, flexibility, and ownership out weight many of the corporate aspects elsewhere. I know for me, I love running my own business and I know that I am in complete control of my life.
1.) Financial challenges can plague many small business owners. Not having enough cash reserves, lines of credit, or access to money can limit the growth and basic day to day operations. Commit to having a financial overview weekly to ensure you stay on track, and use a good accurate accounting system like Quickbooks, Quicken, or 17hats. Financial forecasting is another tool that should not be overlooked. In order to take control of your finances, you need to know where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re headed. Set budgets, monitor expenses, and have a business plan that includes cash flow analysis which will help you plan your financial picture now and in the future.
2.) Proper staffing and good employees is a common pitfall. Many small business owners find themselves unable to compete in the job market and sometimes settle for the less desirable employee just to have a warm body. Trust me, this is not helping your business. The key to obtaining good employees is competitive pay, incentives, flexibility, and benefits. I know, you’re thinking there is no way you can compete with the big boys, but there is! You can offer a simple IRA, even if you can’t afford to match giving your employees a way to save for their future tax free is HUGE. You may not be able to offer full heealth insurance, however you can offer Aflac, and although this is not health insurance it does provide benefits for accidents, injuries, and some health related issues and is better coverage than nothing. As a business owner it costs you ZERO and all you have to do is offer it to your employees and you take the premiums out of their paycheck tax free through automatic deduction. You can partner with a local gym in your area for a discounted gym membership, and you can pay for half of the year’s membership and encourage a healthy team. Offering additional educational opportunities is also something that should not be overlooked and for a small cost you can increase the work performance of your team and better your company at the same time.
3.) The majority of small business owners lack time. Most of the time it’s because you started out by doing everything yourself, wearing multiple hats and so you just continue doing it. Learn to delegate tasks and duties to your staff. Being a good manager means that you know where your time and that of your employees is best spent, and providing you with the best return on that time and investment. You don’t need to be changing oil in a service truck if you should be at a meeting with a potential client. You are too valuable for that, you should be bringing in a new customer and your mechanic or laborer should be changing the oil. The same thing goes for invoicing, payroll, etc. You need to be running your business and delegating those tasks to another person. Know where the true value lays within a member of your team and where you should be really spending your time.
4.) A lot of small business owners start their company with little business management knowledge. That’s ok, it doesn’t mean you’re not a good entrepreneur, but you might need some help with the basic operations and set-up of your business. Be sure to get the help you need right away. I cannot stress this enough. If you procrastinate the problems and issues only get bigger and can lead to failure. For instance, I know a cleint who was a concrete guy, a great concrete guy at that. He knew how to pour concrete very well, but he didn’t knew nothing about how to run a business, invoice, market, hire employees, set the business up etc. Sometimes you need help, so reach out to a virtual assistant or business advisor to help you with those issues.
5.) Marketing always seems to be a BIG struggle for small business owners. Today marketing can be done very easily if the right techniques and methods are used. Most small business owners are unsure of where to begin, what methods to use, how to track it, or plain and simple don’t understand it, so they never market their business. Truthfully they really don’t have time to market because their too busy running the business. So marketing gets overlooked and set to the wayside. Marketing is the backbone to the success of every company and sooner or later it needs to be a part of your business plan. Again, you may need to reach out for assistance with this.
6.) Growing pains! This is common with a lot of small businesses. You start out small, maybe you even bootstrapped your way along and then all of the sudden one day you wake up and your business is booming. You find yourself growing so fast, you don’t even know what’s going on. You’re hiring staff with no paperwork, your throwing receipts into a box by the door, you’re only invoicing once a month because you have no time, you barely pay your bills on time even though you have the money in your account. This can be an exciting spot, but it can also be very scary. More than ever, this is when you have to ensure that your management plan is up to snuff. DO NOT cut corners or procrastinate. You have to ensure that you have the proper foundation established for your business so that you can succeed through this growth process.
Here are some interesting stats from a research study that Constat Contact did.
43% of small business owners say they are wearing too many hats
20% have a hard time riding through bad economic times
10% struggle with hiring and managing staff
66% have trouble finding new customers
56% say they do not have enough time
40% say they have trouble retaining existing customers
32% say they have a hard time paying bills
So this just goes to show you, that you are not alone afterall. Just remember, if you need help there are loads of professionals out there available with the experience you need. You can start with your virtual assistint, lawyer, CPA, business advisor, insurance agent, etc. These professionals truly care about the success of your business and are with you every step of the way.