As a small or medium-sized business owner, your list of priorities will undoubtedly be lengthy. You’ll likely get through all your tasks eventually, and the days and weeks simply pass by as you muddle through.
Then there’s the other list. The list of things you’re not doing at all, but which you know you should be doing.
Does this sound like you? If so, you’re predominantly managing your business, not growing it.
Is that it for you, is that what you want? To always manage? Or would you like to grow your business and not be so ‘hands on’?
The tasks on your second list will most likely be marketing-based and promotional, despite the fact these exercises can push your business forward and make more people aware of who you are and what you do—which, in turn, brings in more sales and makes you busier. If you sustain these extra sales, your business grows.
I don’t want to teach your grandmother to suck eggs but …
Knowledge is only half the battle. Finding the time to attend network events—online or offline, create marketing copy, post videos, gather market research, engage with your followers, introduce new income streams/product lines, and so on, and so on…to consistently do any of these, and do them well, is difficult. It requires time you don’t have, because you’re already busy enough.
The fallout is that your business stays the same.
If you believe only you can do everything in your business, you’ll be absolutely right—because as I explained in a previous blog, this mindset doesn’t bode well for collaboration. You need to be able to hand over tasks to someone else with trust and confidence. You’re not going to find an extra ten hours in your week down the back of the sofa like a five-pound note, you need to create this time, and if it can’t come from your working hours, it needs to come from elsewhere.
Not doing things could actually cost you money. A friend of mine has a Direct Debit she knows she needs to cancel—she’s taken out a replacement insurance policy with another provider as it offered more benefits for the same price as the one she already has. However, to cancel the old policy, she needs to spend half an hour amongst her piles of paperwork to locate the correct policy and corresponding debit arrangement at the bank. Six months after taking out the new policy, she still hasn’t got round to this, and is therefore still paying for both policies, which has already cost her over a hundred pounds. This is crazy, for the sake of half-an-hour!
I bet this, and similar ‘can-never-get-round-to tasks’, occur in most businesses.
Marketing is often the most common task to be put on the back burner, ready to be picked up…well, never, in many cases. The intention to create social media worthy, informative or promotional content will always be there, but actions speak louder than (non-existent) words. There’s no point chucking a post out every now and again, such efforts need to be planned, consistent and measured. This could include anything from your (sort of) monthly newsletter and eshots, to connecting with your audiences across your various social profiles. Blogs and guest posts can do wonders for your business, but they tend to be more of a would-like-to-do than a create-without-fail task.
Admin jobs in your business are largely repetitive—for that reason alone, they’re worth giving over to someone like me. It’s not as if you’ll get on top of them one month and you can then relax…they’ll be back the month after, clamouring for your attention and bringing with them buckets of guilt as you fail to make them any more of a priority than they already are.
The mental strain that comes with trying to do everything—and then some—can be exhausting, but it’s wholly unnecessary when virtual assistants exist. I’m here to support you and remove some of your mental (and, sometimes, physical) burden. Invest in you and your business—VAs are not an ‘extra cost’ but an investment into either your work/life balance or the growing of your business—or both.
For example, not everybody is a budding writer. To create a string of social posts and/or regular articles for your website could take up half your week if content creation doesn’t come naturally. To a professional, however, this may simply mean a few hours of their time. It’s therefore a wise financial move to outsource such work. The same goes for your book-keeping, diary/email management, SWOT research, event planning and more, if it’s not your bag.
According to Nick Johnson of Social Media Today, social media marketing is yet another low priority task for small businesses. In this day and age, however, it’s not a choice. Nick says, ‘Every small business needs to devote time and money to marketing’. That’s EVERY SMALL BUSINESS and NO, you are not an exception. Not all marketing looks like billboards and Twitter accounts, but every business needs to do something.’
If that’s just heaped more guilt on you, I apologise. But, if you take into account just how many more businesses have moved online and the number of extra voices shouting to be heard as a result of the pandemic, you’ll realise how crucial it is for you to up your game with your efforts. It doesn’t have to be social media management you pass to me; you can outsource any task…the most important thing is that doing so will free you up to do the things you don’t currently do.
So, I put it to you again: what are you not doing?
And what would your business look like if these things were taken care of?