Unedited guest post by Alina Popescu (learn more about Alina at the end of this post)
For most women running a small business, constantly growing it also means cutting all unnecessary costs and trying to save whenever possible. If a fee seems a bit much for a certain service they might want to contract, they turn to the Do it Yourself/DIY approach. In most cases, doing anything yourself is not that difficult. There must be someone in your office with the skill set needed to learn how to and then do a good job at it!
While true, in most cases, this approach is counterproductive, unless you’re choosing the DIY option for services you are already offering. If you run a design agency, it would be crazy to hire someone else to design your corporate website. If you’re offering accounting services, you don’t need an outside accountant brought in to deal with your accounting papers. If you’re a PR professional, there really is no need for someone else to provide you with public relations services.
Other than this specific situation, DIY is more of a waste then a help on the long run. And here are a few reasons why:
- It takes time to learn new things, and that’s time you actually pay for
- The time you would otherwise invest in growing your business and delivering to your current customers will be invested into something else
- While you or someone else from your team might learn enough to do an OK job, you will hardly have the time to perfect secondary skills
- If it’s a temporary deal, you would have invested into someone’s training to then let it to go to complete waste
- If you add the numbers of training, time of execution and lost business due to a lack of focus on your core services, you might end up paying more than what a company or freelancer might have asked for
The solution might seem simple: if it’s not something you already are quite able to do, outsource it! But what happens when the math supports the above statement, but the funds are just not available? You still need the help and you are also convinced doing it yourself would mean paying more on the long run. What are your options then?
- If you go for DIY, choose wisely – if someone needs to invest their time in the do-it-yourself project, make sure you choose the person able to learn the fastest and execute at the highest quality level. As time goes by and funds become available, review your situation carefully: if the person in question delivers splendidly, maybe it’s safer to hire someone to fill their original position then transitioning to a different service provider and having your employee catch up with what’s new in their main field. This of course depends on how much time they’ve spent on the new project and on your still needing the said service or not.
- Services paid in services – it is unlikely that you are the only SMB owner in such a delicate situation. There might be another business providing the services you need and struggling to find a solution to cover their own needs for what you do. Such a business might be open to exchange services with you.
DIY is something a lot of field experts promote. If you read their stporong sition on the matter and the advice they give, it seems simple enough. And in most cases it really is. Given the proper amount of time, dedication and personal abilities, you will get to perform well in a new field.
Although no one is trying to sugar coat anything, and deeper research reaveals just how much you need to invest before doing anything new in-house, some facts get easily overlooked. The harsh reality is that your core business is most often something else that in turn demands enormous amounts of time, and it also evolves and requires constant learning; moreover, there isn’t only one aspect where either an outside service provider or resources invested in DIY project might be needed, there usually are quite a few. With limited time and staff resources, an SMB cannot really cover them all. In the end, outsourcing at least parts of what you require to properly conduct your business is the better option.
About the Author
Alina Popescu, PR consultant & Founder of the Mirror Communications PR & Marketing Agency, has been blogging fervently for almost 5 years. If you’re looking for a fresh voice, balancing unique views on business life with original PR and marketing tips, head over to her blog at WordsOfABrokenMirror.com. You can also follow her on Twitter, @alina_popescu, or connect with her on Facebook.