The Business Owner’s Guide to Delegation

As a small business owner, delegating some of your responsibilities and tasks probably doesn’t come very easily to you. Your business is like your child, it can be hard to let someone else be in charge of certain aspects. Delegating requires you to relinquish control of different areas of your business in order for you to devote more time to the business as a whole. 

Without delegation, business owners often spread themselves too thin while struggling to find balance and trying to do it all, which can be dangerous for the success of the business. Delegation is a critical skill for business owners to have, even though you may not find yourself willingly giving away control, because there’s no way someone else can do things for your business as well as you can, right?

With the right approach, mindset, and methods when it comes to delegation and division of labor, you can become a master of time management and allow all aspects of your business to flourish and prosper.

How To Accept The Fact That You Need To Delegate

Let go of the “I can do it all” Mindset

Just because you think you can do it all doesn’t mean you necessarily have to. Doing everything inevitably means you probably aren’t doing everything as well as you could be. By delegating, you are able to focus on fewer tasks, and devote more time and effort to those tasks, resulting in a higher level of productivity, quality, and less stress for you.

Typical Tasks Business Owners Delegate

We should start off by addressing the tasks most business owners usually choose to delegate. These tasks include:

Web Design and Maintenance

Unless you happen to be in the tech business or have extensive knowledge when it comes to web design, this is an area of expertise where it may be necessary to delegate tasks. Learning how to design and update a website regularly, on top of everything else you do to run a small business, can take up a lot of your time, time you could be spending elsewhere. 

Accounting and Bookkeeping 

This is one of the most common tasks business owners choose to delegate, as it requires specialized skill, attention to detail, and a good amount of time to upkeep. Outsourcing the accounting and bookkeeping of your business can be extremely helpful if you don’t feel comfortable managing the numbers of your business all on your own, or if you’re looking to avoid the headache of learning the ins and outs of business accounting.

Digital Marketing 

Similarly to web design, unless you are radically familiar with marketing online using email campaigns, social media, or similar methods, delegating the digital marketing aspect of your business can save you a great deal of time, and can definitely lead to an increase in profits in the long run. Think of delegating your digital marketing as an investment, rather than an expense! 

Customer Service

On top of everything else you have to do on a daily basis to keep business running smoothly, taking breaks in your busy work day to field customer questions and complaints can often feel like the last thing you have time for. Why don’t you let someone else handle it? Outsourcing your customer service can take a huge burden off of your shoulders and gives you one less thing to worry about during your workday.

Tech Support

Even if you’re quite tech savvy, you shouldn’t have to waste your time working to solve tech issues and troubleshoot tech problems when you likely have a million other business related things going on each day. As a business owner, you shouldn’t have to worry about fixing the wifi, refilling ink cartridges, or assisting with computer crash issues. Delegating to a tech service company or individual can save you time, as well as provide advice and guidance towards new technology that may be an asset to your business.

How to successfully delegate

Choose the right person and provide as much information up front as possible

When deciding to delegate, make sure you’re choosing the right person for the tasks you’d like to delegate. If you’re looking to delegate your digital marketing tasks, it likely wouldn’t make sense for you to hire a tech support company, unless they happened to also be skilled at digital marketing. To find quality companies, firms, and individuals to hire to take care of some of your small business needs, try to get references from other professionals or professional websites, such as the testimonials page of a potential company’s website.

After choosing the firm or individual that feels right for you and your needs, make sure you provide as much information up front as possible about the different tasks you need completed. Provide them with details, exactly what you’d like them to do on a day to day basis, what a completed project should look like, and deadline details. Giving explicit details will help the employee to be as efficient as possible, achieve a result you’re happy with, and will help your employee complete a job just as well as if you had done it yourself, which keeps you from feeling the need to micromanage.

Another smart delegation idea is to set up checkpoints to make sure that everything is on track and being completed the way you want it to. Checkpoints offer you and your employee a place to collaborate, regroup, make edits, and create the best final product possible, exceeding your goals and expectations.

There you have it. A quick business owner’s guide to delegation. Delegating can be one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business, as long as you remember to let go of your “I can do it all” mindset, delegate tasks you don’t feel comfortable doing yourself, choose the right person to delegate to, communicate often and avoid micromanaging! By delegating aspects of your business, you’re on the track to a more productive and profitable company.

 

We are here to help you navigate so schedule a call to discuss your specific business goals

Why Your Small Business Needs a Consultant

Small Business Consultant

Have you ever found yourself wanting an outside eye to help out your company? Have you felt the need for someone with more specialized skills to assist in a certain area of your business? Do you need someone to help identify problems within your company? Do you just need more time to focus on the day to day tasks and would like to outsource some of your other work in order to supplement your business and your staff? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be in need of a small business consultant! 

What is a small business consultant?

Small business consultants are professionals who often specialize in a more niche aspect of business, such as an attorney skilled in business law, certified public accountants (CPAs) or even consulting firms which offer a variety of business-related services, like marketing, management, sales, or advertising. The more common types of consultants include strategy and management consultants, operations consultants, IT consultants, human resources consultants, and sales and marketing consultants.

 

The different types of small business consulting services

To discover which type of consultant may be right for you, dive into learning a bit more about different types of consultants and what they do.

Digital Strategy and Management Consultants can help with expanding your product offerings, widening your marketing footprint, developing a business plan, reorganizing your business for efficiency and cost savings, or even buyout another company. They can assist with your business’ social media, market research, online marketing, and website development.

Operations Consultants can help with increasing your process quality and efficiency. They may work with project management, develop new operation plans, helping to reduce steps or mistakes and increase your profit margins.

IT Consultants are one of the most popular types of consultants, with the rapidly changing pace of modern technology. Different things IT consultants can do include maintenance and support services, application development, application integration, to name a few. They can also assist in updating operating software, updating servers, upgrading internet providers, phones, and much more.

Human Resources Consultants are often used to work on employee needs. They can be helpful in recruiting, training, teaching, and improving employee retention. You may also use them as leadership and communication development specialists, and use them to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your staff..

Creative Consultants, PR and Media Consultants are becoming more popular with the expansion of media and digital marketing. The consulting practices and services may offer include graphic design, videography, photography, branding, promotions, campaigns, outreach, events, and communications.

Sales and Marketing Consultants create marketing strategies, launch advertising campaigns, build a high level cohesive brand, make sure you are generating good business, even initiate the sales process.

So, why would you need one of these types of consultants?

Why you may need a consultant

There are many reasons why a small business may need a consultant. You may want added expertise, a fresh set of eyes, a seasoned problem solver and idea generator, a trainer, an influx of new life into the business, or an objective standpoint on business matters.

A small business consultant can offer…

Added expertise and specialized skills

Perhaps the most common reason small business owners hire consultants is for business growth. They allow them to gain access to special skills they may not have among in-house employees. These skills can range from marketing to finance specialists to recruiters. Hiring consultants makes it easy for you to gain access to expertise and specialized skills on demand, whenever you may need.

Hiring consultants is a cost-effective way to supplement your staff, too. While small business management consulting rates are usually a bit higher than a full-time employee, the money saved by only hiring a consultant when their skills are needed, rather than full time, will be more cost effective in the long term.

A fresh set of eyes, an idea generator

When dealing with an issue or important decisions in your life, do you often turn to friends and family for advice? It can be useful to do this in a business, too! Because consultants have a track record of working with many different companies, they may have seen an issue that you may come across in your business, and often they will have a creative solution to problems or experience in handling something you might not have dealt with before. Consultants are seasoned problem solvers who are able to offer fresh, innovative ideas that clients may not have been able to come up with on their own.

A trainer or teacher

Consultants may help companies keep employees on top of new business trends or developments in their field, consultants may be hired to teach. Consultants can also be useful in training new staff when you don’t have the time to do so yourself. 

An influx of new life into the business

No one likes change, least of all corporate America. But change can be good, and often, change is necessary. Consultants can help usher change into an organization seamlessly, whether it be through staff leadership retreats, workshops, e-learning, training programs, new technology, or helping to teach a new business ideology or way of communication, consultants can provide those much needed new methods and ideas into your business, as well as your staff!

Image Source: Getty Images 

Consultants are a valuable resource for any small business, and the impact they can have on a company should not be underestimated. If your annual revenue has been the same or declining in the last 3 years, your business isn’t serving you, you need help managing your growth curve, or your team isn’t hitting goals month over month, you should consider hiring a business consultant.

We are here to help you navigate so schedule a call to discuss your specific business goals

Winning with SMBs

 

NOVEMBER 20, 2019 RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

  • MWC surveyed 1,500 SMBs, interviewed 30 SMB leaders and analyzed employment data to better understand SMBs.
  • Small and Medium Business (SMBs) represent a major growth opportunity—but many businesses struggle to understand, segment and target the SMB market.
  • With the right mindset and an understanding of SMBs’ needs and purchase journeys, companies can prove successful with smaller customers.

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When is small really big? It’s when you’re talking about Small and Medium Businesses, the 5.1 million U.S. companies of less than 1,000 employees. Despite the enormous scale, many companies find the SMB market daunting and a challenge to understand, segment and target. This does not need to be the case. With the right mindset and an understanding of SMBs’ needs and purchase journeys, companies can prove successful with smaller customers.

To better understand SMBs, Google and Accenture surveyed 1,500 SMBs, interviewed 30 SMB leaders and analyzed U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data.

What did we find?

  1. SMBs are unique

The SMB market is a huge opportunity as SMBs are equal in size to enterprise and are growing 4 percent annually. Moreover, nearly 40 percent of SMBs have been in the market for more than 25 years.

* Does not include sole proprietorships, which is considered a ‘non-employer’ by the U.S. Census (one person corporations would be included; contractors would not). Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Small Business Administration

SMBs behave more like consumers than large enterprises. That may be why consumer brands often win SMB dollars as these brands appeal to individuals and have already forged relationships across the journey from awareness to loyalty.SMBs are not one-size-fits-all and are often misunderstood.

However, when diving deeper into SMBs’ buying behavior, we found many don’t actually have a preference for consumer brands. They simply default to what they know. That means both B2B and consumer brands can win SMBs’ product and service purchases if they are positioned appropriate. We believe standard enterprise marketing messaging and use cases will prove limiting.

32%of SMBs have no preference of B2B or personal brand when choosing a product or service for their business.

Similar to how consumers buy services for themselves and their households, SMB buyers have multiple roles within their businesses. An owner, for example, is likely to be the head of marketing, CIO and the operations leader. Playing multiple roles is typical until SMBs reach about 100 employees; at this size roles start to delineate and functional departments form.

Our research found that, on average, job responsibilities of survey respondents involved in the buying process span 1.5 to 2 functions. This creates a complicated matrix when companies consider how to identify individual SMB buyers and how to reach them. Once relationships are formed, SMB buyers who play multiple roles will rely on trusted parties to guide them in their path to purchase.

A growth mindset

Driving revenue growth is the primary purchase motivator for SMBs. Growth goals span incubating new customer segments, opening new locations, or entering new markets. In our survey, one-third of SMBs indicated that new product and service purchases are growth motivated and this increases to nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of SMBs who are purchasing marketing services. Enterprises trying to sell to SMBs should keep in mind that SMBs will always have a “Will this scale?” mindset and will be seeking out solutions that promote their growth.

“Those advertisers that can address the segment differently, both from a product and marketing perspective, will win,” says Seth Schuler, managing director – Software & Platforms Strategy at Accenture. As an example, those that promote functions over features and offer more streamlined solutions should see gains.

Digital, digital, digital

Digital channels are a go-to for SMB buyers: 79 percent of SMBs use online advertising and search engines in at least one phase of their buying journey. And, in each phase, from discovery to purchase and post-sale re-evaluation, nearly half of SMBs turn to digital channels, including company websites. While this should not be a surprise in this all-digital-age, what is different about SMBs is their desire for personal support and personalization. An experience that combines the digital approach with buyers’ desire for relationships is something many companies have not been able to master.

79%of SMBs use online advertising and search engines in at least one phase of their buying journey.

Jay Bowden, Managing Director of Home Services at Google, emphasizes the importance of the digital experience: “When evaluating brands to use for their business needs, SMBs expect the same fast, frictionless, high-quality online experiences that they have with the brands they use in their personal lives. They do not delineate between the two, which significantly raises the bar for companies that SMBs do business with. Don’t let your brand fall short in the eyes of the SMB consumer by having a sub-par owned website. Improving your online experience is just as important as having great customer service and a great product.”

Given SMB buyers are typically not experts in every purchase, they highly regard recommendations from trusted experts, friends and family as a form of validation for purchase decisions. This highlights the importance and the opportunity of having influencers advocating for brands that choose to target SMBs.

Loyalty first, second, third and fourth

Most SMB executives do not have the bandwidth to focus on buying processes. SMBs spend the time upfront, discovering and evaluating potential products and services. Once SMBs have decided on a solution or brand, they’re loyal and committed. SMBs will only reflect on their decision in the face of quality challenges or large price increases.

62%

of SMBs state they highly likely to renew products or services they purchased.

Maintaining a strong customer service mindset will help capture and retain SMB buyers. SMBs want a lasting partner that will provide high-quality, responsive support. SMBs do not have in-house experts to tell them how to use the product, so they lean on service providers for expertise. This leads to upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

“Loyalty is earned through the relationship established with SMBs,” says Doug Novack, Managing Director of Business and Industrial Markets at Google. “Suppliers that are not only involved in the initial research stages, but also provide proactive post-purchase customer service are the ones best positioned to inspire loyalty and capture growth with the SMB segment.”

What are the implications?

Selling to small-and medium-sized businesses can be a major growth opportunity. They are vast in number, accessible through digital channels, open to conversation and advice and, once a purchase is made, resistant to switching.

To capture this opportunity, “traditional enterprise-focused advertisers have to think more strategically about the growth value of the SMB market,” says Michelle Bandler, Managing Director Tech B2B, Google. Monika Wood, Founder/Principal MW Consulting, Inc. concurs: “Companies need up-front market, product and customer strategy to drive informed decision making as they go after this market. And these strategies should be based on actionable market insight from primary research, industry expertise and quantitative analysis.”

This research points to three important considerations as companies build strategies to more effectively succeed with SMBs. First, communicate a growth message. Offer value propositions targeted to unique business needs of SMBs and demonstrate how your product or services will help them fuel their growth objectives. Second, be there when SMB executives are searching for solutions to their problems. Companies need to be in the “dialogue” early in the company life cycle so they can support SMBs as they grow. Lastly, the conversation with SMBs needs to be about addressing business problems and opportunities; companies need a trusted advisor they rely on over time, not an order taker. And, once that relationship is established, the brand is well-positioned to win with SMBs.

 

*We are here to help you navigate so schedule a call to discuss your specific business goals