An important part of addressing how to continue your business’ growth, or more importantly, helping your business’ lack of growth, is to know when to get help from outside experts. These experts are contractors, consultants, freelancers, or virtual assistants that can fill in or add value when and where you need them. Do this in place of hiring a full-time employee. Finding these experts and bringing them into your business will allow you to spend more time and energy using your strengths on tasks that only you can handle. Finding expert help will improve your company’s overall growth if done intelligently. Here are some simple tips to start you on your way to finding a great business expert. One that will help your business grow when you are too tired of doing it all yourself!
1) KNOW WHERE YOU NEED HELP
Savvy business owners know when to do a task themselves, and when it’s a better use of time to outsource to an outside expert. One way to clarify this is by time-tracking your daily tasks. This may sound time-consuming at first. Once you define the time it takes to complete those tasks, you will be able to determine the value of those tasks.
Before time-tracking your tasks, you need to know the dollar value of your time. This is important in deciding whether it will help, financially, to turn the task over to someone else.
When your time-tracking is completed, you can then decide whether a task could be handled more effectively by either:
- Delegating that task to an outside expert or;
- Improving your existing staff’s skills through training and/or mentoring.
2. DO YOUR HOMEWORK TO FIND THE RIGHT RESOURCE
Let’s assume that you have decided to look for outside expert help. Now what? Where do you go to find the best service providers? And how do you know whether they’re the right fit for your company?
- Word of mouth/referrals from your industry contacts
- Trade associations
- Social media groups
- Through impartial third parties, (i.e., consulting agencies)
Many service providers are members of training associations as well. For professional virtual assistants, I recommend (and am a member of) Freelance University
No matter where you source your experts, be sure to screen them and ask for referrals! A good freelancer/contractor will gladly provide you with at least 2 or 3 referrals. You should also check their website and social media pages. This background research gives you a sense of the potential contractor’s ethics and values and whether they are a good fit for your business.
Always remember that contracted service providers are business owners too. They are not employees.
3. BE CLEAR WITH YOUR EXPERTS AND TRACK THEIR PERFORMANCE
Apply the same clear and honest feedback in your dealings with your contractors/freelancers as you do with any permanent staff.
Spell out your expectations and the deliverables.
- What do you need done?
- How will it be done? (Is training required?)
- The date/deadline it is needed.
- Be transparent with your contractor about your budget.
Keep in mind that your contractor is a business owner as well. As a 1099 contractor, you do not withhold taxes, provide them with a physical office, sick, or vacation time, or buy their equipment.
You also cannot dictate their working hours or where they do their work. If you do, it can be construed as an employer/employee relationship and may carry some tax implications.
When you’ve chosen the perfect contractor, you will need to initially monitor their performance. Please don’t micromanage, but don’t turn a blind eye either. Communication is key in working with an expert contractor. Professional contractors will treat your business as they do their own!
Provide honest feedback, if you feel that something they are doing is “missing the mark” or is not being done to your specifications. It is your responsibility to get the most out of your resources (whether they are contractors or permanent employees). It’s always a good idea to keep track of the value that each of your business resources provides to your company.
Most importantly, if your contractor is working above and beyond expectations, please remember to let them know that as well. Receiving a great testimonial is the lifeblood of an expert freelancer/contractor’s business.
Managing consultants and external resources do take time and attention. But, when you find that perfect expert and get them onboarded, the time spent will prove to be time well spent. A successful relationship with your business expert will not only provide you with business growth but with extra time at the end of the day to spend on things you WANT to do!
Evaluate outsourcing those tasks that will provide your business with the greatest benefit/ROI.
- Do a time study. For a short video on this subject, click here.
- Do thorough research on candidates before hiring consultants. Determine your budget. Meet with them via a Zoom call. For a video on general virtual expert pricing, watch this video.
- Above all else, be clear about your expectations with all external resources and monitor their performance.
If you are ready to hire an expert that will provide you with the business growth and time you are looking for, Lotus Business Resources is here to help you!
~Karen, Founder of Lotus Business Resources
Use this link to book your complimentary 30-minute breakthrough call to see how we can help you!
To your continued success,