Doing It All Yourself – One of the Most Expensive Mistakes a Small Business Owner Can Make

Recently, I have been doing a lot of work with a small business owner in San Jose. The more his business grew, the more stressed out he became. His fear of adding payroll to his company’s expenses was hampering the growth of his start-up company.

When you first start your own business, you will probably handle all of the daily tasks yourself. For a start-up company, staff of any kind is a luxury you probably cannot afford. As the business grows, however, and in order for it to grow, you cannot keep trying to do everything. Eventually, you will have too much on your plate and your service will suffer. So, before you harm the reputation of this new business you have been working so hard for, you need to divide the tasks into those that you have mastered and can systematize and train someone else to do, and those that should be done by professionals.

Tasks for Staff: Examine your financial situation and figure out how much staff you can afford, then invest in hiring good people. Teach those people how to do the tasks your way and let them run with it and report back to you when appropriate. Stay in touch with them so that you always have your finger on the pulse of your business and never become too dependent on any one employee. Growing your business in this way will provide greater independence for you, greater value for your company, and larger profits. When my San Jose start-up client hired his first salesman and saw that the company could progress without being completely dependent on his efforts, he became a much happier person.

Tasks for Professionals: Sometimes doing it yourself is definitely not cheaper. Having the right professionals working for your business will save you a lot more in the long run – in time and money. Compliance and protection now can be much cheaper than fixing a problem later. When it comes to legal, accounting and tax needs, focus on creating value rather than saving money. For example, hiring a corporate or business attorney to help you choose the correct form of entity and then help you form your corporation, partnership or LLC correctly can protect you from legal and tax problems later. Using the right attorney to help draft contracts and agreements or review and revise contracts presented to you so that you get good contracts in place can save you from having to deal with onerous terms later. Hiring an accountant to help you set up your books correctly and report your income and deductions legally can save you from costly audit adjustments later.

You are the expert at what you do. Surround yourself with people who are experts at what they do. Once you have a good team of advisors, let them share information between them. It will save time, money and frustration for you and your business later.

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