5 Types of Tasks to Outsource to Build Your Business and Become a Better Business Owner

5 Types of Tasks to Outsource to Build Your Business and Become a Better Business Owner

outsourcingWhen you own your own business, it’s all about efficiency.  Having those processes in place and delegating tasks that others can do.

Sometimes it’s easy to know exactly what you want to outsource – especially if you don’t have the skills for it.  But what about those little tasks that are taking up your time?  Time that you could use to take your business to the next level?

So, where do you begin on deciding what to outsource?  Here are some ideas on where to start your list.

  1. Tasks that you HATE doing

You know the tasks – the ones you put off until the very last minute and then you drop everything to do them.  You have the skill to do them, but you just HATE to do them.

  1. Tasks that you don’t have the skills for

These are the tasks that you have research on how to do it or take classes for.  Yes, DIY saves you money, but are you saving money in the long run?  How long are the research and class taking you and then to do the actual task?  Think about the money you could be making if you didn’t spend that amount of time on learning and doing the task.

  1. Tasks that are repetitive

These are the easy tasks that you do day-in and day-out.  The time you spend on those tasks adds up.  What if you wrote done the process and delegated it to someone?  How much time would you be able to add to working on your business instead of working in it?

  1. Tasks that have been sitting on your to-do list forever

The “I’ll get around to it someday” tasks.  These are the great ideas you have and have never acted on.  What if you did complete those tasks?  What would your business look like?  Would you have better processes in place? Would you be able to increase your income?  Would you be able to spend more time enjoying life?

  1. Tasks that you enjoy doing, but should really be growing your business

These are the “working in the business” tasks that you enjoy doing, but you still need to schedule the time to do them.  As a business owner, you should be working on your business – the income generating activities – and not the “back office” items that keep the business running or even are an expense of the business.

Can you imagine the time you will free up if you outsource these 5 types of tasks?

Do you need even more ideas for items you can delegate?  Check out this list by Chalene Johnson – Delegate or Die.  The list covers not just business, but also personal tasks!  Who says you can’t have a “personal assistant?”

And – enjoy your newly found time.

How Do You Improve Your Sales? Just Ask!

Guest Post by Kim Fredrich, Sales Trainer, Coach and Speaker

How Do You Improve Your Sales? Just Ask!

People tell me all the time that they can’t sell. Sometimes they don’t see themselves as salespeople (ick, slimy right?), sometimes they are quiet and introverted, and sometimes they are just so uncomfortable in a sales situation that selling becomes a never-ending spiral of ineffectiveness and anxiety.

And then there are those who feel pretty good building rapport, asking qualifying questions, and talking about their product or service’s benefits, but when it comes down to it, are unable to ask for the business.

What’s true in both cases is either a business that never gets off the ground or one that is doomed to failure. Because without sales, you don’t really have a business.

What to do when you must sell?

First, recognize that selling is like any other skill; it’s unlikely you’ll be Olympic caliber the first few times you try it. Practice is imperative.

Second, you’ll need to shift your mindset around selling, especially if you want to succeed as a business owner. Selling is really about service – you are providing a solution to a problem that your customer has. You’re not pushing something your customer doesn’t really need, and you’re not in the transaction just to make a buck. That’s how selling got such a bad name in the first place!

You’ve accepted those two points? Good, we can move on to the nitty gritty.

How do you actually ask for the sale?

Here’s the funny thing, you just need to ask. I know, I know. This is supremely uncomfortable for some of you. Remember this: your prospective customer is expecting you to ask and will find it strange if you don’t. They’ve just spent their valuable time getting to know you and your company. They’ve decided that it’s worth continuing the conversation, and they are seriously considering you as a supplier of whatever product or service you have to offer.

So, go ahead, take a deep breath, and JUST ASK.

Here are some “go for the gusto” direct ways to ask for the sale:

Are you ready to sign a contract?

Can I book you in for Tuesday next week?

How many would you like to order?

What needs to happen for us to work together?

Can I put you down for $3000?

You’ll notice that these are all closed questions that can be answered with a yes or a no. That’s because at this point in your sales conversation, you need a direct answer. Yes, I’d like to work with you. Or no, we are unable to commit at this time because . . . . Hint: you’ll always want to get a reason for the no. You may still have an opportunity depending on that reason.

And here are some less scary ways to ask for the sale:

If the direct way to ask for the sale is still a little too frightening, you might also try something like:

Is there anyone else who needs to be involved in this decision?

What do you think about my (your product or service here)?

Is there anything stopping you from purchasing?

How can we get this [insert your product or service] installed?

There! You’ve done it. You’ve asked for the sale.

After you ask for the sale, then what?

Keep quiet.

That’s right, you don’t say anything. That interminably long pause while you wait for your potential customer to respond is in reality only a few seconds. And it’s up to the client or customer to respond. You lose so much business and personal credibility if you find yourself compelled to fill that silence. Most likely you’ll start doing something foolish like discounting your product or service or throwing in extras, all while your potential client hasn’t even said yes or no yet. There’s a good chance they were going to say yes at your asking price, but now you’ve gone and discounted it! A sale, yes; profitability, not so much.

Hopefully you’re feeling a little bit more comfortable with the idea of taking a deep breath and just asking for the business. If not, I encourage you to practice with a colleague or a friend. It really isn’t that difficult, but the more you practice, the easier it will become.

To find out more about how to make your selling more successful check out additional tips in my blog, ‘Substance & Style’.

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About Kim Fredrich

Kim helps customer facing ‘non-sales’ staff get comfortable with sales and realize the importance of their role in business success. Her one-on-one sales coaching, consultancy and workshops focus on building relationships and having conversations with purpose. She has recently presented at The Power Conference, NAWBO, the Freelance Union and the Women in Business Leadership Council. She has also conducted workshops for Howard University’s In3 Incubator, Hera Hub and the Maryland Women’s Business Center.

 

Kim began selling with her first job in food services, branched into marketing, and came back to sales because it was a bigger challenge and much more interesting. She has trained with some of the most respected business brand names over her career, achieving a training commendation from Xerox. Over the past 20 years she’s delivered sales and marketing services to select clients across the globe, in B2C, B2B and nonprofit industries.

 

[email protected] 703-822-1928

 

The post How Do You Improve Your Sales? Just Ask! appeared first on Startup to Growth, LLC.

Can You Afford a Bad Hire?

Can You Afford a Bad Hire?

By Startup to Growth Guest Blogger Tricia Worden, Owner and Chief Resource Officer of Next Generation Human Resources Solutions

Hiring new talent is a critical function to any small business.  Employees are the biggest asset in all companies, regardless of the size, and typically account for 80% of the operational costs of running the business.  As a small business, it is important to hire the ‘superstars,’ the right people the first time around.  You simply cannot afford to spend valuable resources on a ‘bad’ hire; a disengaged employee is detrimental to the culture you are trying to build within your organization.  Additionally, most small businesses do not have the luxury of repurposing a ‘bad’ hire to see if they are a fit elsewhere, and struggle with the decision to terminate the employee.  Hire the right talent and they will help you succeed; make the wrong hire and they will drain your resources.

Hiring the “Superstar”

When it comes to hiring the ‘superstar,’ you will want to focus on finding candidates that are qualified and meet the position requirements you outlined in the job posting or advertisement.  Small business owners tend to juggle multiple facets of the business, and when it is time to hire help we sometimes forget to clearly identify what we need.  Often, this leads to hiring in haste versus implementing a hiring process that helps us find quality candidates to meet our needs.  We tend to look toward family and friends for help.  While family and friends may have willingly offered their support when starting our business, it does not mean they are ideal employees.  Similarly, referrals from existing employees or family and friends are great, but you should consider the referred candidate’s qualifications against the job posting and your specific needs before hiring.

Why we Hire Badly and The Cost

Companies tend to hire bad employees because they filled the position too quickly; they did not test or research the candidate’s skills, they did not perform adequate reference checks, or it just did not work out.  A bad hire can be costly to small business owners, and most say a bad hire cost them between $25K – $50K[1] because of settling for candidates that were not qualified.  Small business owners may find the hiring process is time consuming and wish they had help finding the right person.  The biggest impacts of a bad hire are it lowers staff morale, loss in productivity, and monetary costs.  When disengaged employees do not pull their weight, good employees get burned-out and usually leads to a loss of key employees.  Poor performers lower the bar for others and bad habits spread like a virus.

What to Do Once a Bad Hire is Discovered

If your organization offers an introductory period policy and you discover the new hire is not a good fit, you can act to terminate within the introductory period.  However, you should document the reasons you are terminating, and you should discuss these reasons with the new hire.  If the hire has worked through the introductory period, or your company does not offer such a policy, then you or their immediate supervisor should make every effort to manage the employee to the position they were hired to fill.  This is accomplished by providing clear expectations, goals, and timelines.  Documentation related to the new hire’s performance will be important to defend your decision to terminate.

Conclusion

As mentioned, employees are the biggest asset to all companies and hiring the ‘superstar’ is critical to your business operations.  You simply cannot afford to dispense resources to hire an employee that wreaks havoc on you, your business, and your employees.  Implementing a hiring process that helps you identify your hiring needs, produces quality candidates, and helps you hire the right person the first time, is imperative to you and your business’s success.

[1] Jansons, Pete (2016, June 6) The Hidden Costs of Bad Hires on Small Businesses.  Retrieved from CareerBuilder https://resources.careerbuilder.com/small-business/the-hidden-costs-of-bad-hires.

Note:  From time to time Startup to Growth, LLC invites guest bloggers to talk about their areas of expertise.  We thank Tricia Worden for taking us up on our offer and blogging about this important Human Resources issue. Also, Tricia is a contributor to Startup to Growth Video Library. Her presentation will be posted soon!
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About the Author:  Tricia Worden is the Owner and Chief Resource Officer of Next Generation Human Resource Solutions.  She knows that small businesses are driven by the vision and entrepreneurial spirit of the founders to meet a need by delivering a product or service, and Next Generation HR Solutions was founded with the same principles.

Tricia has over 20 years of experience in Human Capital, Operations, and Project Management working within technology, managed services, and non-profit industries.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Project Management from Liberty University.  She is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) and a Society of Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).

Tricia may be contacted at [email protected].

 

Small Business Content Planning NOW for 2018!

Small Business Content Planning NOW for 2018!

Content Planning NOW for 2018!

Yes, there is still time to prepare and make 2018 your best year ever.  We reached out to Meg Kerns,  Owner and Chief Digital Strategist at MOKUp Media, for her suggestions about how small businesses can act now to plan their content for 2018.  Is it doable? How much work does it take? Meg gives a great example for a real estate company…clear, simple, concise. Expand her ideas to work for you in your industry.  Need help? Meg offers a free consult.

Meg is also a contributor to the Startup to Growth Video Library, a small business training and professional development resource that is affordable and available to members 24 X 7.  In her videos, Meg explores six social media platforms, including FB, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, giving overviews and how-to’s with screen shots.

Note to Small Business Owners:  Even if you are reading this post well beyond 2018, the take-away is now is the best time to start planning, no matter what week, month or year it is!

content marketing for 2018

Content Marketing

by Meg Kerns

 

All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”  Earl Nightingale

The Rules of P’s

You’ve heard of rule of P’s: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance and nowhere is that truer than in your digital presence. Your annual goals and plans are well thought out and measured, why wouldn’t you do the same for your digital marketing strategy? Your digital media, (photos, videos, blogs, quotes and text) should directly align with your digital marketing goals. To ensure the content you’re sharing correctly aligns it should be created alongside a flexible calendar and surrounding a set of themes that make sense for your company.

Content Marketing for Realtors

Take for instance, the following example.

Kate’s Real Estate company is looking to boost its presence online, on Facebook specifically. To do so they post photos of properties, sometimes include general quotes about home buying yet their content is appearing inconsistently. They rarely include videos of their properties and seldom showcase their agents. They are seeing a slight rise in their engagement but not as much as they could hope to achieve.

For Kate to be successful online she needs to develop a content plan with her agents. As a preliminary step, Kate drafts a calendar for the next 30-60 days, highlighting national holidays and company events. She then tasks her agents with writing a bio for themselves to be shared online.

-Mondays she designates “Agent Spotlight Day” which will introduce agents to the public (with a headshot) as well as a current property they would like to showcase.

-Tip Tuesdays Kate determines which home buying, staging and remodeling tips will be appropriate to share with followers and potential clients. She decides to either “go live” or pre-film these in video form to potentially reach more people.

-Want It Wednesday is a day to showcase a newly listed property, or one that needs a little love.

-Thursdays are reserved for celebrations of happy clients who have just sold or listed properties complete with photos and a brief story of their experience. (Testimonials)

-Just for Fun Fridays are used to showcase the team aspect of the firm with photos, videos and tidbits that will help build relationships with their followers and to showcase professional people in a more relaxed way.

After following this process for 30 days, Kate is amazed at the amount of interest her business page is generating as well as providing a great digital resume for potential clients to peruse.

Content planning is the first step to a solid digital plan and a strong strategic presence. Develop a plan, or have a digital marketer guide you in the creation of your digital marketing strategy to boost your online presence and attract your ideal clients.

The next step, is consistency.

If you’re interested in a FREE Digital Diagnostic please contact Meg at [email protected]. We’ll discuss your current digital activity as well as a direction to promote your presence online.

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Meg Kerns is the Owner and Chief Digital Strategist at MOKUp Media, providing digital marketing services to small businesses nationally.

Year-End Checkup and #2018SmallBusinessGoals

Year-End Checkup and #2018SmallBusinessGoals

#2018SmallBusinessGoals

 Create your Small Business Success Steps for 2018!

It’s that time of year again.  It is time to review your business, look at what you did well in 2017 and also look at where you need to improve, learn from that, and set your Action Plan for 2018 – also called your Strategic Plan or your Small Business Success Steps. Whatever you call it, you really do need to do it 🙂

When I help clients with this, we typically look at:

  • Products/Services Offerings
  • New Business and Technology Trends
  • Competitor and Industry Changes
  • Marketing Strategy – Online and Offline
  • Pricing
  • Work/Life Balance

And this last category is becoming increasingly important to my clients.  We all have the same amount of time each day, and we sometimes need help to take a fresh perspective at HOW we are using our time.  I LOVE helping clients look at their values, revisit their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT), and see how they are all playing out in the business choices they make every day and how those choices impact their life outside work.  Are they living or violating their values?  It really does make a difference in how fulfilled we are as business owners.

Some typical themes that emerge are:

  • Should I consider an online product?  Everyone else is! And my initial response is almost always: So what? Let’s look at YOU, YOUR business, and see if this makes sense for YOU!
  • There are more competitors in my space. How can I compete against them?
  • My business is growing.  I’m stretched too thin.  The reasons I started this business are being lost.  What can I do?  I’m not happy.
  • I just don’t like Social Media, at all.  Do I NEED to get involved with Social Media?
  • I can’t do it all.  I’m overwhelmed.  Help me set my priorities and create focused goals for 2018.
  • I really missed the mark on that new product line.  I need to re-evaluate.

We cover these topics and so many others with small business owners just like you.  Or you can do this on your own.  Either way, make sure you evaluate last year and create a plan for the new year!  If you have any questions about this blog or any of our products/services, please contact Startup to Growth, LLC at [email protected]

Robin Suomi, MBA, is an experienced small business expert and founder of Startup to Growth, LLC.  She helps clients answer their technical business planning questions, and also encourages them to dig deeper, dream bigger, working with them to create their Success Steps!  Check out the website for ongoing How to Start a Business and Business Plan Boot Camp classes, as well as 1-1 and mastermind small business coaching.

Also check out Startup to Growth Video Library  for additional small business training and professional development videos available to you online, anytime.  A very affordable option.